Intended for healthcare professionals


The nursing profession's coming of age

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 08 December 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1415
  1. Ghislaine Young (, nurse practitioner in general practice
  1. Shipley, Bradford

    There has been much coverage in the media recently of the proposed extension of nurses' prescribing rights so that from next spring they will be authorised to prescribe all drugs apart from controlled drugs.

    BMA spokespeople have voiced concerns (BMJ 2005;331: 1159) that patients' safety might be compromised if nurses who have done only a relatively short period of training are able to prescribe a wide variety of drugs. This is nonsense: nursing is a three year undergraduate or diploma level course, and nurse prescribers are highly trained and experienced nurses with many years of postgraduate and often specialist education.

    I am a nurse practitioner working in a large general practice in West Yorkshire, where I am a salaried partner. Nurse practitioners have evolved as a distinct nursing discipline over the past 20 years in the United Kingdom, and yet few people know we even exist. Our emergence has in effect been a silent revolution in the delivery of health care. …

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