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Nurse prescribing of medicines in 13 European countries

Maier, Claudia B.

Background: Nurse prescribing of medicines is increasing worldwide, but there is limited research in Europe. The objective of this study was to analyse which countries in Europe have adopted laws on nurse prescribing. Methods: Cross-country comparative analysis of reforms on nurse prescribing, based on an expert survey (TaskShift2Nurses Survey) and an OECD study. Country experts provided country-specific information, which was complemented with the peer-reviewed and grey literature. The analysis was based on policy and thematic analyses. Results: In Europe, as of 2019, a total of 13 countries have adopted laws on nurse prescribing, of which 12 apply nationwide (Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (UK)) and one regionally, to the Canton Vaud (Switzerland). Eight countries adopted laws since 2010. The extent of prescribing rights ranged from nearly all medicines within nurses’ specialisations (Ireland for nurse prescribers, Netherlands for nurse specialists, UK for independent nurse prescribers) to a limited set of medicines (Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden). All countries have regulatory and minimum educational requirements in place to ensure patient safety; the majority require some form of physician oversight. Conclusions: The role of nurses has expanded in Europe over the last decade, as demonstrated by the adoption of new laws on prescribing rights.
Published in: Human resources for health, 10.1186/s12960-019-0429-6, BioMed Central