Non-medical prescribing assessment: An evaluation of a nationally agreed multi method approach

Ruth E. Paterson, Susan G. Redman, Rachel Unwin, Evelyn McElhinney, Michael Macphee, Frances Downer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In the United Kingdom, legislation permits nurses and allied health professionals to prescribe for patients within their care. Preparation for this role includes learning, teaching and assessment that is embedded in practice, supervised by a designated medical practitioner (DMP) and evidenced in a reflective learning in practice portfolio.

AIM: The objectives were to explore; (1) which assessment in the practice portfolio was ranked most valuable in terms of achieving safe, effective prescribing practice and, (2) whether a practice based assessment (SDEP) was an acceptable alternative to an Observed Simulated Clinical Examination (OSCE).

METHODS: Online surveys were conducted and follow up semi structured telephone interviews were conducted across 5 universities in Scotland with students, DMPs and line managers.

RESULTS: Students ranked the learning log most valuable and DMPs and line managers ranked the SDEP most valuable. Survey and follow up interviews suggested that the portfolio provided the opportunity to develop prescribing skills and knowledge relevant to their specific clinical speciality. There was agreement amongst all participants that clinical assessment in the practice portfolio effectively enable non-medical prescribing students to evidence prescribing competence.

SUMMARY: The novel use of the SDEP and reflective summary offers a viable alternative to an OSCE and was viewed as one of the most valued components of the assessment strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-286
Number of pages7
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Issue number1
Early online date20 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • Allied Health Personnel
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Humans
  • Internship, Nonmedical
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Midwifery
  • Qualitative Research
  • Scotland
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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