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Qualified but still not prescribing

I have been registered as a non-medical prescriber (NMP) for several years now. Although the training has helped me gain confidence in what I do as a pharmacist, I confess that I have never used the qualification to prescribe.

The main reason for this is that I changed jobs shortly after gaining the qualification and moved from primary care to work in secondary and tertiary care. My ambition to develop a prescribing role for myself within this new environment was swiftly dwarfed by competing priorities and stunted by the lack of staff available to support the role (prescription screening, etc).

And so the years rolled on and I never finished that all-important business case to allow me to manage my own patients in a clinic or day unit.

I ask myself, was I procrastinating or was I being realistic in thinking that any bid I made would be unsuccessful?

Nevertheless, I have now moved into a new role, back in primary care, and my enthusiasm to put my training to good use has reignited. Yet I notice a certain hesitation in myself to get going — my confidence to put pen to paper has dwindled. Where do I start? Whom do I contact? What do I do?

Fortunately, with the growing number of NMPs becoming qualified there are now many more support structures in place to help them use their qualification than when I first registered; there is a clinical governance framework for NMPs, we have NMP leads at the trust and there are steering groups and support networks that connect me with my prescriber peers. I have medicines management policies to read and paperwork to fill in.

However, unpicking the process and building a new prescribing role can take time; for me, a seasoned novice, this means I have a valuable opportunity to observe my new environment, get to know my fellow NMPs (the community matrons and advanced nurse practitioners), define my scope of practice and establish myself within my new team.

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2013.11125111

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