DDN Oct_2022 Octoober 2022 | Page 17

Case study 1


MY ROLE is to provide quick access to treatment for drug and alcohol clients . This includes prescribing opiate substitute
medication like methadone and buprenorphine . I also facilitate alcohol assessments and detoxes . I am a qualified nurse prescriber and have been since November 2014 . I qualified as a registered mental health nurse ( RMN ) in 2000 . When I did my training to become a non-medical prescriber ( NMP ) you were expected to have practised in your area of expertise
for at least three years at a senior level .
I work in prison and community settings – in both my role involves reviewing clients ’ treatment as well as supporting colleagues with their caseloads .
There are many aspects of my job that I like . One that stands out is when I make a decision that may have looked tough at the time but
later a client is appreciative of the progress they ’ ve achieved . The gratitude of clients when you ’ ve assisted them in their journey is one of the things that keeps me going . It ’ s a highly rewarding job that requires an interest in people as a prerequisite . The client group is challenging and the job itself can be character changing .
Kudzai Mutizhe , nurse prescriber
Case study 2


AS AN NMP my role is to provide high quality clinical assessments to diagnose and prescribe opiate substitute treatment ( OST ) – the role also includes alcohol assessments to establish and diagnose dependency , supporting alcohol detox , and decisionmaking for either in-patient or community detox .
The role requires a nurse qualification and NMP course
completion . A qualification in substance misuse is preferable and some experience is desirable , however the service is happy to develop nurses to fulfil this role and training and peer support is ongoing . A thorough induction is completed with support from our doctors and other nurses / NMPs to ensure that new staff feel confident and competent to carry out this varied role .
Every day is different – some are extremely busy , others are spent waiting for clients to attend . We see unexpected releases from prison and urgent referrals from GPs , and we cater for clients who often have a diverse range of complex
needs . There are numerous other aspects to this role which include assessment of the liver via fibro scans and blood results , assessing the risk for IV drug users and putting a plan of care in place to minimise this risk . We raise awareness of blood-borne viruses , and provide a vaccination service for those at risk as well as onward referrals for hep C treatment . The role also includes student mentorship , recovery worker support and liaising with other agencies such as GPs and mental health teams to deliver a person-centred approach . We have new initiatives , including piloting the buprenorphine
injection / depot , Buvidal . We aim to provide a service which we would all be happy for our family / loved ones to attend . The most rewarding part of the job is to see people making positive changes and maintaining these changes . I enjoy working with people who have previously been judged and have little self-esteem – to witness our clients gain confidence in themselves to turn their lives around is very satisfying and makes the work worthwhile . This is a very fulfilling role . If you are caring and want to make a difference , this is the role for you .
Sue McCutcheon , non-medical prescriber
Society has created a prescribing competency framework for all prescribers that has been designed to help maintain prescribing standards , inform education curricula , and provide a source of recognised guidance for those involved in NMP .
All prescribing roles build on registered professionals ’ ability to deliver full instalments of patient care . In turn this enhances patients ’ timely access to treatment with medicines and experience while reducing waiting times , hospital admissions and more effectively using members of the healthcare team .
EXPERIENCE ARE NEEDED ? Registration with the NMC as a first-level nurse or specialist community public health nurse
for a minimum of one year prior to application for entry . Applicants are to be professionally practising in an environment where there is an identified need to regularly prescribe , and able to demonstrate support from their employer / sponsor , line manager , non-medical prescribing lead and practice supervisor and assessor . Applicants should be capable of safe and effective practice at a level of proficiency appropriate to the module / programme undertaken and their intended area of prescribing practice in the following areas : clinical health assessment , diagnostics / care management , planning , and evaluation of care . Applicants must be able to demonstrate ability to study at academic level 7 . Applicants must have at least
three years ’ experience as a practising nurse or specialist community public health nurse and be deemed competent by their employer to undertake the programme . Employment is subject to enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service ( DBS ) clearance .
Your approved course will enable you to learn the skills and knowledge you need to qualify . You ’ ll be able to develop your legal , ethical , and professional knowledge on topics relevant to pharmacology and therapeutics .
WHAT CAREER OPPORTUNITIES WILL THIS OPEN UP ? Once you ’ ve completed your course and registered with the NMC , you ’ ll be able to prescribe independently and in partnership
with a medical or dental prescriber and the patient .
Areas you can work in include mental health , substance misuse , travel medicine , HIV medicine , critical care , nutrition , and rheumatology .
You can also progress to higher level courses including advanced nursing practice or advanced clinical practice as well as becoming a prescribing supervisor .
If you ’ re looking to develop your medical career , take on greater responsibilities and manage enhanced patient care , becoming a non-medical prescriber may be the right direction for you .
Natalie Thompson is at Archer Resourcing , www . archerresourcing . co . uk