We can learn a great deal from colleagues throughout our daily practice. Learning in this way is often by example, yet many non-medical prescribers (NMPs) will rarely encounter other NMPs in the course of their work.
Get together and learn something new
So how can NMPs, who might feel quite isolated, create new learning relationships with those in similar roles?
One way NMPs at my trust do this is by participating in an NMP forum. Attending the quarterly meetings gives us the opportunity to learn from and share our experiences with fellow prescribers. The forum was set up to allow qualified NMPs and those still in training to discuss current issues in a relaxed and open environment. It has since proved to provide much more than this.
The forum includes NMPs from different clinical settings, such as the emergency department, urology, oncology and diabetes clinics, and the orthopaedic centre where I work. It encourages us to share the practices that have improved our service. Nurses from the orthopaedic centre who are doing their prescribing course will often shadow me, or the other orthopaedic pharmacist prescriber, for half a day as a work-based training session. We add value to these sessions by providing a pharmacist’s perspective of the drug chart as well as that of a prescriber. After meeting us at the NMP forum, other student nurse prescribers have asked to shadow us and this had led to new learning opportunities for us all.
There is often an educational component to our meetings. When changes in legislation or practice occur, such as the change in Controlled Drug legislation last year, those of us who have the best understanding of the area will inform the others. We also have external speakers who deliver training on topics that are beyond all of our expertise. A specialist dermatology nurse gave us some useful information on rashes and skin complaints — although many of us had not previously thought of this as a training need, it was extremely relevant to our roles.
The NMP forum has opened new doors to learning and networking across the trust. It has helped us form strong links, which have proved useful far beyond our roles as prescribers. I would advise independent prescribers, especially those who work alone, to get involved in similar forums. If one doesn’t exist, it’s well worth setting one up.
Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2013.11116052
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