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Nurse prescribing for inpatient pain in the United Kingdom: A national questionnaire survey

Stenner, Karen L., Courtenay, Molly and Cannons, Karin 2011. Nurse prescribing for inpatient pain in the United Kingdom: A national questionnaire survey. International Journal of Nursing Studies. 48 (7) , pp. 847-855. 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2011.01.009

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Background: Nurses make a valuable contribution to pain services and have the potential to improve the safety and effectiveness of pain management. A recent addition to the role of the specialist pain nurse in the United Kingdom has been the introduction of prescribing rights, however there is a lack of literature about their role in prescribing pain medication. Objective: The aim of this study was to develop a profile of the experience, role and prescribing practice of these nurses. Design A descriptive questionnaire survey. Setting: 192 National Health Service public hospital inpatient pain services across the United Kingdom. Participants: 161 qualified nurse prescribers were invited to participate, representing 98% of known nurse prescribers contributing to inpatient pain services. The survey was completed in November 2009 by 137 nurses; a response rate of 85%. Results: Compared with nurse prescribers in the United Kingdom in general, participants were highly qualified and experienced pain specialists. Fifty-six percent had qualified as a prescriber in the past 3 years and 22% reported that plans were underway for more nurses to undertake a nurse prescribing qualification. Although all participants worked in inpatient pain services, 35% also covered chronic pain (outpatient) services and 90% treated more than one pain type. A range of pain medications were prescribed, averaging 19.5 items per week. The role contained a strong educational component and contributed to informing organisational policy on pain management. Prescribing was said to improve nurses’ ability to promote evidence-based practice but benefits were limited by legislation on prescribing controlled drugs. Conclusions: Findings demonstrate that pain nurses are increasingly adopting prescribing as part of their advanced nurse role. This has implications for the development needs of pain nurses in the United Kingdom and the future role development of nurses in other countries.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0020-7489
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 07:51

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