Hospice News

Nurse-led prescribing

03 Apr 2023

Patient Care Stories

We now have a number of nurses within our community teams who can prescribe drugs directly to patients, leading the way in nurse-led prescribing.

The training for this began three years ago and we now have eight prescribers across our Hospice at Home and Community Nurse Specialist teams, with two more due to qualify in the summer.

This process not only empowers our nurses, but also speeds up the process for families to receive the medication they need at the end of life.

Karen and Julie, two of our nurses, tell us more about nurse prescribing and how it has transformed their work with patients.

Karen and Julie
Karen and Julie


"I've been prescribing since I completed the course in 2019. Nurse prescribing has been taking place since the early 2000s, but a change in regulation in 2012 meant that drugs often used in palliative care could also now be prescribed by nurses, not just doctors.

"As palliative care nurses, it means we are prescribing within our specialism. Our palliative care knowledge is often greater than that of a GP, and previously we would advise the GP of the best medication for a patient. They then had to actually issue the prescription which could take time and cause delays.

"The main benefit to patients is the speed at which we can now get them the drugs they need. I can now write a prescription, check which pharmacy carries the drugs required, and get them to the patient much quicker. This means getting on top of pain and symptom control much faster, and it can even stop a patient from ending up in hospital.

"The sooner we can ease their distress and pain, the less likely they are to phone an ambulance because they cannot cope. By prescribing, we can support the NHS and GPs who are under pressure. We can take a job off them and support our fellow health care professionals.

"I'm now a mentor to other nurses within the Hospice who are taking the course. It's really rewarding to help develop people."


"I'm currently doing the course with UWE. I wanted to do it to learn more about how medications affect our bodies and how our bodies affect medications, including the ones we frequently use. I also want to improve patient care by reducing delays in accessing prescriptions for important drugs, especially at the end of life.

"The end of life care I can provide to patients after completing this course will be improved as I'll be able to prescribe what we call 'Just In Case' medication quickly. In turn, this will increase my job satisfaction as patient care will be improved.

"Life-long learning is an important part of nursing – continuing to develop knowledge and skills is vital to keep patient care up to date and safe."

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