Background An increasing number of specialist palliative care nurses are embarking on training to become a prescriber. Non-medical prescribers (NMPs) play a very important role in supporting patients and allowing a more efficient and responsive service (Cope, Abuzour, Tully, 2016). Despite the training being rigorous, one in 10 prescribers say they lack confidence in their new skill (Nurse prescribers competent but not confident. Nursing Standard. 20, 30, 10-10. doi: 10.7748/ns.20.30.10.s15). If appropriate support is not provided to this group of professionals, benefit of their training may be lost. In 2016 a monthly NMP forum was set up in Coventry and Warwickshire to provide a supportive environment to share experiences. Ten nurses attended on average each month, supported by a consultant and pharmacist.
At the beginning of the pandemic it was decided to offer the opportunity to meet via Teams. 88 NMPs have now requested to join the invite list. On average between 25 and 30 attend each meeting. Being on Teams has enabled far more people to be able to join from across the county. A survey was carried out to understand more about the group and to ensure that it was meeting the needs of those who attend.
Results People who attend vary between being a prescriber for >10 years to those just embarking on their training. Having members of other specialist palliative care teams in different areas allows those who attend to see similarities/differences in working practice and take best practice back to their area. They report valuing the opportunity to discuss complex symptoms and to share different ways to manage them. It is seen as a ‘safe place’ where they can receive support, knowledge, education and supervision to support their role as an NMP. 85% report that the meeting meets their learning needs. 70.3% more likely to attend if meeting continues to be held virtually
Conclusion The results from the survey have reinforced the plan to continue offering these sessions in their current format.
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