An Evaluation of the Expansion of Nurse Prescribing in Scotland

Nurse prescribers in Scotland can now prescribe a range of controlled drugs for specific medical conditions. This research project which is summarised below provides an evaluation of the extension of nurse prescribing following the introduction of new legislation in 2001.


National Evaluation of Nurse Prescribing in Scotland

Nurse Prescriber; Case Study Information Sheet

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What is the purpose of the project?

Although the recent expansion of nurse prescribing in Scotland is the subject of much discussion, there has been little evaluation of its practice and effects to date. The purpose of this project is, therefore, to identify any benefits and challenges of nurse prescribing in Scotland so that the impact on nurse prescribers, patients, healthcare staff and health services can be assessed. In turn, this evaluation will provide evidence to inform recommendations for the future of Nurse Prescribing in Scotland.

What will I have to do if I agree to take part?

We would now like to move onto this next stage of the project by gathering information on the views and opinions of nurse prescribing from a range of health professionals, patients and stakeholders. This will take the form of in-depth case studies, within a variety of different healthcare settings. Key to this stage of the research is the participation of nurse prescribers in the following two activities -

1) Nurse Prescribing Log - the log is designed to reflect your prescribing activity within a short period of time and it is a matter of filling in a brief record of your engagement/assessments with patients. There is a blue instruction sheet for completion of the log and we would ask that you read this carefully - this will give you the details about what is involved.

2) One-to-one interview - the researcher will ask you some open-ended questions about your views on nurse prescribing. This will be a one-to one interview with the researcher and it is estimated to take no longer than an hour of your time. In order to allow analysis of data, interviews will be tape-recorded and then transcribed. As you will read below, your interview responses will be anonymised and handled confidentially at all times.

In addition to your own participation, the nature of the case studies means that we would also invite other health professionals, patients and stakeholders within your practice area to take part in a short interview. The purpose of this is to evaluate nurse prescribing from a range of perspectives.

What happens next?

If you decide that you would be willing to participate in a case study, we ask that you read, sign and return the enclosed green consent form as soon as possible in the prepaid envelope provided (you do not need a stamp). When this consent has been received by us, we will contact you to discuss your nurse prescribing log and arrange an interview time and date that is suitable for you. We will then arrange to contact other health professionals, stakeholders and patients within your practice area and invite them to take part in an interview about nurse prescribing.

Why have I been chosen?

You recently returned a reply form indicating that you might be interested in taking part in a nurse prescribing case study. In order for you to now decide whether you would like to participate, we have sent you this more detailed information.

Will my taking part in these activities be kept confidential?

Your decision about whether to participate in this project will only be known by the research team. Your log and responses to the interview questions will be handled confidentially at all times and will only be viewed or listened to by the researchers on the project. If we wish to use any quotes relating to something you have told us, you will be consulted first and the quote only used with your approval. We also aim to ensure your anonymity in the research by storing your interview data by anonymous code, i.e. not your name, and by replacing the name of your healthcare setting with a general description, e.g. 'a GP practice within a rural community.' Every effort will be made to protect the identity of individual respondents but there may be some situations where it possible for others to identify likely respondents due to the nature of you role, e.g. if your job title is exclusive.

Why should I take part?

The results of this evaluation will be returned to the Scottish Executive where they could be used to influence future developments in nurse prescribing. Your participation at this stage of the project may therefore help to contribute important opinions and information from a nurse prescriber's point of view.

Do I have to take part?

Your decision to participate in this project is entirely voluntary and will not affect you or your work in any way. If you decide to take part, the other health professionals, stakeholders and patients that we contact within your area are also under no obligation to participate; their decision about whether to take part in an interview is also entirely voluntary. If you have further concerns or queries that have not been addressed within this information however, you are welcome to contact us - details are provided below.

Are there any disadvantages to taking part?

This part of the study is solely designed to obtain information from you about your views of nurse prescribing and we do not envisage any disadvantages or risks associated with taking part in the research. The only aspect of the research that you may feel inconvenienced by is the time involved in participating. You are, however, free to withdraw from the study at any time and without giving a reason.

What will happen to the results of the research study?

The data obtained from this study will be analysed and the main findings will be written up as a general report. This report will be submitted to the Scottish Executive and may also eventually be published within academic and nursing journals. An individual copy of this report can also be sent to you on request. All data will be stored securely and will be destroyed after a suitable period of time.

Who is funding and organising the research?

The project is commissioned by the Scottish Executive Department of Health and is being organised by the University of Stirling's Department of Nursing and Midwifery. An evaluation of nurse prescribing education and training is also being carried out by the University of Stirling's Institute of Education.

Who has reviewed the study?

The study has been reviewed and given a favourable ethical opinion by the NHSCOREC system. In addition, the research approach has been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery and Institute of Education Departmental Research and Ethics committees.

Reply contact details

If you have any further questions about the study at this time, please contact;

Fiona Turner, Research Fellow, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Stirling on 01786 466280 or e-mail Should you wish to speak to someone who knows about the study but is independent of the research team, please contact; Jen Shearer, Research Services Manager, Research Office, University of Stirling on 01786 466692 or e-mail

Please remember to return the green consent form if you would like to take part. Thank you for taking the time to consider our request for your participation in this research.

Professor Andrew Watterson Fiona Turner

Professor in Health Effectiveness Research Fellow

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