Maintaining Competency

In 2001 the National Prescribing Centre published a document that outlined a framework of competencies a nurse prescriber should have (NPC 2001).The framework was intended to help individual nurse prescribers and their managers identify gaps in knowledge and skills and training needs to inform education and training for nurse prescribers and to support professionals locally by providing a framework to help the recruitment and selection procedure and to inform appraisal systems. The framework is made up of various components:

• The main areas of competency

  1. The consultation
  2. Prescribing effectively
  3. Prescribing in context

Each of these areas has three different competencies, and each competency has:

  1. An overarching statement, which gives an overall picture of what the competency is about
  2. A number of statements, known as behavioural indicators, which represent the specific behaviours you would expect to see if the competency is applied effectively

The framework is summarised below:

Table 23

The Consultation

Clinical and pharmaceutical knowledge

Establishing options

Communication with patients

Has up-to-date clinical and pharmaceutical knowledge relevant to own area of practice.

Makes a diagnosis and generates treatment options for the patient. Always follows up treatment.

Establishes a relationship based on trust and mutual respect. Sees patients as partners in the consultation. Applies the principles of concordance.

Prescribing effectively

Prescribing safely

Prescribing professionally

Improving prescribing practice

Is aware of own limitations. Does not compromise patient safety.

Works within professional and organizational standards. Takes responsibility for prescribing decisions.

Actively participates in the review and development of prescribing practice.

Table 23 Continued

Information in context

Knows how to access relevant information.

Can critically appraise and apply information in practice.

Prescribing in context

The NHS in context

Understands, and works with local and national policies that impact on prescribing practice.

The team and individual context

Works in partnership with colleagues to benefit patients. Is self-aware and confident in own ability as a prescriber.

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