HSE Nurses and Midwives pioneer new role in healthcare

The HSE today joined with the Department of Health and Children and nursing unions in launching a major framework document on enhanced roles for nurses and midwives. Nurses and midwives are pioneering what is one of the most important changes in Irish healthcare. Today there are 43 nurses and midwives prescribing medicines in different parts of the country - and this number is steadily increasing.

New legislation and regulations giving nurses and midwives the power to write prescriptions represents one of the most fundamental changes in healthcare practices aimed at improving the service to patients throughout the country. Nurse prescribers are improving services to patients and reducing health service delays. Working in the community and in our major hospitals these nurses are already registering very positive feedback from patients.

The driving force behind this innovative change is the Resource and Implementation Group on Nurse and Midwife Prescribing. At their final meeting the Group’s chairperson Dr Siobhan O’Halloran paid tribute to the contribution and commitment of all members of the group over the past two years. “It is, in no small part, due to the skill and expertise of the group members that the national implementation of nurse and midwife medicinal product prescribing has been so successful,” Dr O’Halloran said.

Dr O’Halloran was speaking at the publication of a special report entitled Guiding Framework for the Implementation of Nurse and Midwife Prescribing in Ireland in Dublinat the NationalMaternityHospital, HollesStreet.

In October 2005 the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, prioritised the introduction of nurse and midwife prescribing. The Minister recognised the complexity of the task ahead and readily acknowledged the ground breaking work that had already been done by a number of different partieswhen establishing the resource and implementation group. The first nurse and midwife prescribers registered with An Bord Altranais in January 2008. The Registered Nurse Prescribers (RNP) currently practising are from a variety of clinical settings.

Registered nurse prescribers have written 1,674 prescriptions for 1,499 patients and 2,423 individual medicinal products since January 25th, 2008.

Seventy-nine health service providers across the Health Service Executives’ National Hospital Office and Primary, Community and Continuing Care are currently introducing nurse and midwife medicinal product prescribing.

A total of 225 nurses and midwives are undergoing or have completed the education programme with broad representation from 58 different clinical areas.

Last updated on: 04 / 12 / 2008