HIV nurse prescribing: a review

Cathy Ormiston
HIV Clinical Nurse Specialist, South Staffordshire & Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust, UK

Advanced nursing practice is a term frequently used in the UK since the early ‘90s – however, its remit continues to be debated and explored [1]. Some definitions, particularly the older ones, do not include prescribing [2]; while the Royal College of Nursing raises the question of whether it is a level of nursing practice or a defined role [3]. It has also been argued that the autonomy necessary for the advanced practice nurse is epitomised by independent prescribing skills [4].
This current nurse prescriber role, following Department of Health (DH) amendments [5], could be viewed as one of the most controversial skills of the advanced nurse practitioner as it crosses over into the traditional medical role [6]. NHIVNA has supported HIV nurses in exploring the evolution of advanced practice, while also posing the question: is nurse prescribing simply a convenience for doctors as their own caseloads and work demands increase … or does it improve the nursing care that we deliver? [7]. Additional skills should enhance care whilst maintaining the ‘essence of nursing’ [8] – an echo of the Francis Report, which identified a startling lack of basic nursing care [9]. Read more…