The author, a nurse practitioner based in an Emergency Department (ED), from here on in will be referred to as 'the practitioner'. The practitioner is currently employed in a development role with the view, following training, of becoming an acute care practitioner. This will entail working autonomously: taking accurate clinical histories, physical examination, gain differential and working diagnosis and organise a plan of care. This plan of care could well include a number of prescribed medications. Hence it is in the practitioners job description (as it is increasingly in many specialist/autonomous nursing roles) to become a Nurse Independent and Supplementary Prescriber (NISP).
The Cumberlege Report (1986) suggested that nurses should be able to prescribe independently and highlighted that patient care could be improved and resources used more effectively by doing so. It identified that nurses were wasting their time requesting prescriptions from Doctors. Since the publication of this seminal piece of work, non-medical prescribing has been analysed, reflected upon, researched at great lengths and changes in practice made (DoH 1989, 1999, 2006 & 2008; Luker et al 1994; Latter et al 2011) and is still under constant review.