Learning for Life: OH and nurse prescribing

Life Long Learning and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are the
processes by which professionals, such as nurses, develop and improve their

There are many ways to address CPD: formally, through attending courses,
study days and workshops; or informally, through private study and reflection.
Reading articles in professional journals is a good way of keeping up-to-date
with what is going on in the field of practice, but reflecting and identifying
what you have learned is not always easy.

These questions are designed to help you to identify what you have learned
from studying the article. They will also help you to clarify what you can
apply to practice, what you did not understand and what you need to explore

1. Which nurses were the first to pilot nurse prescribing?

a) Accident and emergency nurses
b) Practice nurses
c) First level nurses
d) Health visitors and district nurses

2. Besides 12 prescription-only medicines, what other things could nurses

a) Appliances and dressings
b) Pharmacy only medicines
c) General sales list medicines
d) Lotions

3. What are the four therapeutic areas?

a) Minor illness, major injury, health promotion & palliative care
b) Minor illness, minor injury, health promotion & palliative care
c) Minor illness, minor injury, health education & palliative care
d) Minor illness, minor injury, health promotion & acute care

4. What did 37.5 per cent of ‘No’ respondents say was the reason for
their decision?

a) Occupational health should be seen as a doctor-led service
b) Occupational health should not be seen as a proactive service
c) Occupational health should not be seen as a treatment service
d) Occupational health should be seen as a management tool

5. What was needed to support additional costs for OH nurse prescribing?

a) Training needs analysis
b) Audit
c) Budget
d) Cost benefit analysis

6. When did the Department of Health extend arrangements for ‘independent

a) May 2000
b) May 2001
c) May 2002
d) May 2003

7. How many prescription-only medicines were included in the ‘independent
prescribers’ formulary?

a) 40
b) 140
c) 240
d) 340

8. What level of study is the independent prescribers study programme?

a) Certificate
b) Diploma
c) Degree
d) Masters

9. Who funds the programme of study for the supplementary prescribers?

a) Royal College of Nursing
b) NMC
c) Department of Health
d) Workforce Development Confederation

10. In the survey, one respondent incorrectly believed that OHNs

a) Already prescribe vaccines and immunisations
b) Administer vaccines and immunisations
c) Are not competent to administer vaccines
d) Were independent prescribers


1) d – Consider why these two groups were chosen for the
pilot? How does their role differ from that of an OH nurse? 2) a 3) b
Can you justify why these areas were chosen? Do any of them apply to OH nursing
and, in light of this, would it change your opinion of whether OH nurses should
be independent prescribers? 4) c – This question provides an opportunity
for debate with your colleagues. In light of your beliefs on this and question
3, open up discussions with your colleagues, perhaps from other companies or
with you clinical supervisor. It may be worth discussing the other answers and
what you believe about those statements. 5) d – All these answers could
be correct but the article actually says d. 6) b 7) b – Go to
www.doh.gov.uk/nurseprescribing for the full list of drugs that can be
prescribed by appropriately-trained nurses. 8) c – Do you understand the
different ‘levels’ of study? Certificate level is level 1 or first year of a
degree; diploma is level 2 and 2nd year of a degree, and first degree is level
3. Master is level M. 9) d – Explore the site www.wdc.nhs.uk and find
out all about the Workforce Development Confederation. 10) a – Do you
understand the difference between prescribing and administration? Revisit the
NMC guidelines for the administration of medicines and refresh your memory.

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