CARING AND COMPASSIONATE
This month our careers series turns the spotlight on nursing
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Many people choose to qualify as a nurse so they can pursue a career in addictions . There are also nurses who become interested in specialising in addictions as a result of coming into contact with people with drug or alcohol issues in their working lives . To practise as a nurse in the UK you must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council ( NMC ). Nurses are required to have a nursing degree or equivalent in order to register with the NMC – there is no externally recognised addictions accreditation .
Nursing gives the opportunity to work in a variety of roles within services including providing specialist interventions in physical and mental health , leading on harm reduction initiatives for bloodborne viruses , needle exchange , provision of naloxone , and support with detoxification from alcohol and / or other drugs . Some nurses choose to study at Masters level , including addictions courses , but these are open to a range of professionals and are not nurse-specific . There are a range of nurse-specific MSc courses – for example in leadership , or mental health – although there are none that focus solely on addictions .
Others study to become nurse independent / supplementary prescribers and play an important role prescribing medication to those with substance problems . To do this , nurses must have one year ’ s post registration experience .
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HOW DO I BECOME A NON-MEDICAL PRESCRIBER ?
Non-medical prescribing was introduced in May 2006 to improve patients ’ access to treatment . It enables quicker access to medicines , delivers high quality , innovative clinical care , and offers choice for the individual . Only nurses and pharmacists that have been trained to prescribe can do so , and they can only prescribe within their area of expertise .
Natalie Thompson explains the route to qualifying as an NMP
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PRESCRIBERS ? Allied health professionals who have completed an accredited prescribing course and registered their qualification with their regulatory body are allowed to prescribe . The two main types of prescribers are independent prescribers ( IPs ) and community practitioner nurse prescribers ( CPNPs ). An IP is someone who has successfully completed a Nursing and Midwifery Council ( NMC ) independent nurse prescribing course ( a v200 or v300 ) and who is registered with the NMC as an IP .
IPs can prescribe any medication provided it ’ s in their competency to do so . This includes medicines and products listed in the British National Formulary as well as unlicensed medicines and all controlled drugs in schedule 2-5 ( https :// bnf . nice . org . uk / medicinesguidance / controlled-drugs-anddrug-dependence /).
A CPNP is a nurse who has successfully completed an NMC CPNP course ( v100 or v150 ) and is registered as a CPNP with the NMC . Most nurses who have done this course are district nurses and public health nurses ( previously known as health visitors ), community nurses and school nurses . They are registered to prescribe from the Nurse Prescriber Formulary ( NPF ) ( https :// bnf . nice . org . uk / nurseprescribers-formulary /) which includes appliances , dressings , and pharmacy .
HOW CAN YOU BECOME A PRESCRIBER ? To become an NMP , eligible practitioners will undertake an accredited programme , delivered by a higher education institution . Non-medical prescribing programmes provide the knowledge , skills , and training to prescribe safely and competently .
The Royal Pharmaceutical
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