Nurse prescribing pilot review gives thumbs up

1 March 2012

A pilot of prescribing by diabetes nurse specialists was safe, effective, and popular with patients according to a newly-released evaluation report

Health Workforce New Zealand publicly released the [Evaluation of the Diabetes Nurse Specialist Prescribing Project] report, in late February and said the project would now move to the “second phase”, with a new contract for rolling-out the pilot beyond the initial four sites likely to start before the winter. The new contract was likely to focus on supporting primary care nurses.

The report examined the six-month pilot held between April and September last year in demonstration sites in Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Palmerston North, and the Hutt Valley. These sites involved 11 diabetes nurse specialists (DNS) authorised to prescribe under a new Nursing Council regulation and one prescribing nurse practitioner.

Analysis of the data found no adverse events or hospitalisations attributable to DNS prescribing. The clinical audit by the project physicians found the prescribing was “clinically appropriate” and patient outcomes remained stable and showed an overall improvement in blood sugar results.

The evaluation report, carried out by Massey University, said the evaluation suggested that DNS prescribing contributed to an effective specialist diabetes service but the time frame was too short to enable productivity gains to be measured. Patients reported high levels of confidence in DNS prescribing decisions and consultations and found DNS prescribing more convenient and generally quicker and cheaper.