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Clinical nurse specialist prescribing in a cancer centre supportive and palliative care team


Objective To provide insight into the prescribing practices of three independent nurse prescribers (INPs)/clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) working in a supportive and palliative care team (SPCT) in a district general hospital and a specialist tertiary cancer centre in the UK.

Methods A prospective review of all consultations and the prescribing activity arising from the consultations (and reasons for non-prescribing following a consultation) of 3 INPs/CNSs between 1 August 2018 and 31 October 2018.

Results Four hundred ninety-three consultations were undertaken on 186 individual patients. Two hundred forty-seven consultations representing 50% resulted in changes to a prescription, and 123 of those consultations representing 50% of prescriptions written resulted in the prescribing of an opioid for moderate-to-severe pain.

Conclusions This service evaluation demonstrates the potential for INPs in SPCTs to provide comprehensive symptom control while enabling CNSs to practice with a greater degree of autonomy leading to enhanced job satisfaction. On the basis of our experience, we would encourage all palliative care CNSs to undergo training to become INPs (if available).

  • symptoms and symptom management
  • pain
  • drug administration
  • service evaluation
  • cancer
  • hospital care
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