Nova Scotia nurse practitioners understanding of inappropriate prescribing and using a prescribing evaluation tool: A pilot study

Rena Creedon, Stepehn Byrne, Ingrid Sketris, Julia Kennedy, Suzanne McCarthy


Background and Objective: Over the past two decades nurse practitioners’ prescriptive authority, has evolved specifically in response to pressures from patients’ physicians, changing policies and preoccupation with the effectiveness and efficiency of care. However, little is known of the nurse practitioners’ understanding of appropriate and inappropriate prescribing and their views of using a prescribing evaluation tool in practice to ensure prescribing is optimal and can support national change. The aim of this research is to explore Nova Scotia nurse practitioners (with prescriptive authority) understanding of inappropriate prescribing and their experience of using a prescribing evaluation tool.

Methods: This qualitative study used a phenomenology research design. A series of semi-structured telephone interviews were held with a purposive sample of nurse practitioners with prescriptive authority. Interviews were tape recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using Colaizzi’s framework method.

Results: The study identified four recurrent themes: competence and confidence, understanding inappropriate prescribing, consequences of inappropriate prescribing and the role screening tools play in prescribing.

Conclusions: The potential for prescribing nurse practitioners to contribute positively to address the issues with increasing healthcare demands and associated problems and to improve quality of care in the Canadian health system is substantial given their insight to medication management.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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