Benefits to Patients
The anticipated benefits to patients that could follow the expansion of nurse prescribing are integral to the modernisation of the NHS, which places primary importance on society’s need for a more flexible service delivered at a time and place suitable to the patient.
One study, undertaken by Luker et al (1997a), found clear support for nurses as prescribers within the healthcare professions, although many patients were largely unaware of nurses' new role in prescribing. The study identified time savings for patients, carers and health professionals. Patients found nurse prescribers to be approachable and described consultations as more relaxed than with other healthcare professionals.
In a modernising health service, which is expanding nurse-led services, it is vital that patients receive a service with which they are comfortable and confident. The work of Luker et al (1997b) refers to the first phase of health visitor and district nurse prescribing.
Following on from this, a study by Latter et al (2005) from Southampton University has confirmed what most health professionals hoped the findings would demonstrate, that nurses are independently prescribing in a safe effective manner, following educational programmes provided. More importantly, the study also indicates that patients are happy with the service and most doctors are supportive of the role.
University of Stirling is currently undertaking a large study involving the whole of Scotland which, over the next few years, should illuminate the impact of independent and supplementary nurse prescribing.