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Letter: Nurses should be able to prescribe non-drug items

Jill Rodgers

I write in response to the article  ‘Advantages and disadvantages of nurse prescribing’ (Vol 1, No 4, p113). While I welcome the fact that the debate around nurse prescribing in diabetes is being raised in the journal, I would like to make the following comments:

  1. Nurse prescribing in diabetes care is likely to be linked to a small number of specific treatments and home monitoring equipment, which means that much of the debate around broad pharmaceutical knowledge and current routes to nurse prescribing may not apply.
  2. The article suggests that nurse prescribing is an ‘added responsibility’ – what responsibility could be greater than carrying out an illegal act on a daily basis, which is the current scenario?
  3. The comment that DSNs prescribing will obviate the need to see a doctor suggests that the doctor’s only role in diabetes care is the issuing of prescriptions, whereas their medical expertise is a valuable contribution to care.
  4. There may be a way forward in prescribing under group protocols, a concept already agreed in principle by the UKCC.

The future development of a DSN qualification, which I would argue is likely to be at a minimum of first degree level if it is to be valued and respected, could be linked to DSN prescribing within that specialist area.  At the end of the day, we need to put a stop to what is currently a paper exercise of prescribing, and seek ways to gain recognition and legitimisation for what has become an integral part of the DSN role in patient care.

I write in response to the article  ‘Advantages and disadvantages of nurse prescribing’ (Vol 1, No 4, p113). While I welcome the fact that the debate around nurse prescribing in diabetes is being raised in the journal, I would like to make the following comments:

  1. Nurse prescribing in diabetes care is likely to be linked to a small number of specific treatments and home monitoring equipment, which means that much of the debate around broad pharmaceutical knowledge and current routes to nurse prescribing may not apply.
  2. The article suggests that nurse prescribing is an ‘added responsibility’ – what responsibility could be greater than carrying out an illegal act on a daily basis, which is the current scenario?
  3. The comment that DSNs prescribing will obviate the need to see a doctor suggests that the doctor’s only role in diabetes care is the issuing of prescriptions, whereas their medical expertise is a valuable contribution to care.
  4. There may be a way forward in prescribing under group protocols, a concept already agreed in principle by the UKCC.

The future development of a DSN qualification, which I would argue is likely to be at a minimum of first degree level if it is to be valued and respected, could be linked to DSN prescribing within that specialist area.  At the end of the day, we need to put a stop to what is currently a paper exercise of prescribing, and seek ways to gain recognition and legitimisation for what has become an integral part of the DSN role in patient care.

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