Should nurses be allowed to prescribe medicine?

The debate whether nurses can prescribe medicine for patients has been on for quite long in the United States and some regions of Europe. A recent report indicated that nurses were increasingly issuing prescriptions for complex medicines, which has caused great concern among medical practitioners. With the practice approaching 50%, some practitioners are demanding that any law that allows nurses to prescribe drugs to patients should be repealed. While such rules are meant to help speed up the treatment of patients and subsequent recovery, there are concerns that they could also put the patients’ lives through wrong prescriptions.

At the medical school, students take approximately five years to learn the competence of prescribing the right drugs to patients. Therefore, the assumption that nurses can do this job to the benefit of patients is not well help with writing nursing assignments thought out. A country can only resort to such a move where there is a shortage of doctors. Nevertheless, this does not make it the best remedy. It does not take away the fact that nurses do not have proper knowledge of the complex diagnosis. These should be short-term measures that aim at filling gaps and speeding up processes.

However, with proper on-the-job training, nurses can become competent after all. There are ways nurses can become better at administering complex prescriptions. To begin with, they should be under the guidance of trained doctors who must check and approve the medicines before the patients take them. Through this, they will learn faster while on the job. Secondly, nurses should seek to enhance their skills and knowledge by registering for graduate or post-graduate courses. In fact, the proponents of the move to allow nurses to issue prescriptions argue that with proper training, they can help improve service delivery by reducing patients’ waiting time. Already a course will help independent nurse prescribers to acquire necessary knowledge for their new roles.

It would be prudent to have only nurses with vast experience in the field to handle such prescriptions. Coupled with additional training, they would be instrumental in assuring the patients of their safety. While they may have the knowledge based on experience, they need the backing of specialized training to update their knowledge.

The debate on whether nurses can prescribe medicine, therefore, lies in the additional training they would acquire before they perform this new role. Hospitals and medical centers would also play an integral part in determining the fate of the law; if they to employ only nurses who have the skills to prescribe drugs, they would be introducing a game-changing precedent that would require all nurses to go for additional training on prescriptions. On the other hand, if their employment policies do not consider the possibility that a nurse can prescribe drugs as a qualification for employment, then there are chances that the law may not take effect. In conclusion, since nurses do not have the training to prescribe, they should be under the guidance of doctors to perform the job competently as they continue training.