Continuing professional development for non-medical prescribers is recognised as being pivotal in maintaining up-to-date knowledge and skills influencing prescribing competence (Weglicki, et al., 2015). In palliative and end-of-life care, pharmacology and prescribing are rapidly changing and require regular CPD in order to keep up-to-date with the latest developments. Non-medical prescribing is a comparatively new innovation to nursing practice, and within the hospice setting. Therefore, nurse prescribers need mentorship from experienced prescribers, as well as the encouragement from nurse leaders to be confident prescribers themselves and enhance patient care (Wilson, et al.,2014).
At St Christopher’s, we have encouraged our specialist nurses to undertake academic training to become independent nurse prescribers, and have seen practice flourish. A recent audit of anticipatory prescribing demonstrated the value of nurse prescribers in hospice care, in that 55% of all anticipatory prescribing was undertaken by nurse independent prescribers. This highlights the pressing need for continuing professional development.
Until 2020, St Christopher’s supported our own nurses to attend a national study day to provide pharmacology and prescribing updates, but with the assault of COVID-19, we needed to think differently about how to deliver this. In doing so, we developed a monthly online community of practice which has grown in popularity. Joining this we have over 100 nurses working in palliative and end-of -life care who are non-medical prescribers. Once a month, using video conferencing technology, members of the community join us from all the four nations of the UK, to learn together, share knowledge and access the expertise of invited speakers.
This presentation will outline the significant role of nurse prescribers within the hospice setting, and highlight the need to ensure the availability of CPD. In doing so, we will highlight one such approach to providing CPD, along with raising the national profile of this important work.
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