What we did and why we did it
Independent Nurse Prescribers in memory services have a specialist role in an area of rising service demand, due to the increasing prevalence of dementia. We recognise that diagnosing dementia within a prescribing context is complex, nurse prescribers are experienced practitioners who have a valuable leadership and mentoring role within dementia services. Yet, they do not have consistent CPD opportunities for developing their own (or mentoring others) independent prescribing skills. We led a literature review and developmental evaluation as a way of supporting a group of NSFT nurse prescribers to strengthen their collective leadership skills in memory services by co-designing their own CPD workshops.
Take away points
1. Defining the role of nurse prescribers (for example, in reducing waiting times for treatment) generally seems to be difficult, even in one NHS Trust, due to varying memory service characteristics.
2. Nurse prescribers co-designing and leading their own CPD workshops are a sustainable way forward for achieving peer-led CPD relevant to their immediate needs. 3. Peer-led workshops support confidence in transitioning from newly qualified to independent prescriber; building skills in nursing leadership for evidence-based practice in person-centred dementia care and; supporting learning towards applying for Advanced Practitioner level study.
What we found
The final number of included articles in the literature review was 44, all from the UK. Literature addressing CPD issues for nurse prescribers in memory services was non-existent. Studies from different clinical areas suggest a problem with availability of CPD opportunities for nurse prescribers more generally. The link to the paper can be accessed here. We surveyed and/or interviewed NSFT memory service nurse prescribers and other key staff groups, people with experience of using NSFT memory services and their family supporters, to help us refine CPD topic areas. Based on our findings, we co-designed, held and evaluated two CPD workshops with the nurse prescribers over the course of the year-long funded project. We designed the stages needed to further develop a competency-based, confidence self-assessment tool to meet the groups specific CPD needs.
We hope our findings, which emphasise the importance of developing tailored CPD opportunities based on the direct input, experiences and preferences of the nurse prescribers in memory services who will access them, will lead to effective CPD. This project focused specifically on a small group of nurse prescribers employed in one UK NHS Trust and working within memory services, however theoretically, findings could be adapted to benefit other groups of nurse prescribers. We thank the Burdett Trust for Nursing for funding this project.