Background: The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has proposed a standard of practice that enables registered nurses (RNs) to prescribe under a partnership model. This requires extensive input and support from authorised prescribers including nurse practitioners. Understanding nurse practitioners’ views and preparedness to support partnership nurse prescribing is imperative to its successful adoption.
Aim: To report Australian nurse practitioners’ views on the RN-prescribing standard.
Methods: This cross-sectional study surveyed a convenience sample of nurse practitioners using multiple-choice, Likert Scale and open-text responses. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics; short answer responses were explored thematically.
Findings: The majority of the 229 participants (n = 183, 76.2%) agreed that prescribing would optimise RN knowledge, skills, and capability. Mentorship was the highest-rated enabling factor (n = 205, 89.5%). Three themes were identified: the lived experience of nurse practitioners, perceived impact on nurse practitioner roles, and patient safety.
Discussion: Participant views were conflicted. While the potential advantages for patients, RNs, and the healthcare system were acknowledged, there was equal concern for the implementation of nurse prescribing, role ambiguity, and erosion and patient safety. Nurse practitioners’ support for RN prescribing will be an important component of implementation.
Conclusion: RN prescribing is an opportunity to potentially improve consumer access to medicines and enhance healthcare system efficiency. It is also an opportunity for the nursing profession to contribute to improved systems of care while embedding succession planning for advanced practice nursing roles.
- Access to care
- Medication management
- Nurse practitioner
- Professional education
- Scope of practice