A group of 10 nurses have become the first non-medical prescribing practitioners in Jersey able to write prescriptions for patients.
The move marks the culmination of a process that began with changes to Jersey Law, starting in 2011, and involved a rigorous six-month education programme for the group of nurses.
The 10 nurses, who come from a range of disciplines including emergency admissions, emergency department, sexual health, endoscopy, learning disability and psychiatric nursing, undertook the University of Northampton course, approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). All of them completed the training and passed final exams with marks exceeding the UK average.
Following confirmation of the exam success, and the final legal and policy measures required to facilitate the change, the nurses are now licensed to issue prescriptions. This was previously restricted solely to designated doctors, dentists and vets.
Although the first 10 practitioners to gain their licence are all nurses, other professionals including midwives, health visitors and pharmacists are likely to study for equivalent qualifications in future. A further group of 12 students has been selected and are currently being prepared to commence training in January 2014.
Chief Nurse Rose Naylor hailed the move as a landmark in the provision of healthcare in Jersey.
“We know from other countries that nurse prescribers have made a significant and valuable contribution to patient care and I am confident that it will have an equally positive impact here in Jersey” she said.
“Now that our 10 local nurses have completed their training, which involved a stringent programme culminating in demanding exams, these nurses, and others who follow in their footsteps, will be able to play their part in providing safe and cost-effective treatment to Islanders.”
Deputy Anne Pryke, Minister for Health and Social Services, said she was delighted to see the first group of professionals achieve their qualification.
“This legislation is pivotal in terms of healthcare reform, at a crucial stage of the modernisation and re-development of healthcare in Jersey,” she said. “The implementation of non-medical prescribing gives some of our existing practitioners the opportunity to use their full skill-set in providing even more comprehensive care for the people of Jersey. This will make working in Jersey more attractive, helping us to recruit and retain highly-skilled clinical practitioners.”