By Charlene Hales, Clinical Team Manager at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust
I approached my supervisor a year ago during my appraisal to express my interest in prescribing as I wanted a new challenge. I liked the idea of implementing a full care plan, conducting assessments, formulating impressions/diagnoses and designing a treatment package that includes medication prescribing. As a nurse, you learn so much about medicines through experience and observing patient outcomes, that means you acquire a lot of practical knowledge and this should not be underestimated.
When I began my course earlier this year at King’s College University, I soon realised that there was much more to learn. From the biology of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics to virtue ethics, to influences on prescribing, substances and the law, professional accountability to public health (my new area of interest). Some areas slightly drier than others, but all pertinent to safe and effective prescribing.
The course allowed me to not only learn about safe and effective prescribing but also opened my mind to a wider context of healthcare issues and challenges. Continuing my academic curiosity, I need new goals and challenges in front of me, that’s just how I’m wired.
The course was tough and it’s important to know that you need to be able to learn independently if you are considering this course. I completed my module at Level 7 (MSc) but it is available at Level 6 also (BSc). It was split over 6 months and I had one study day a week on top of my full-time role. This day was either, attending my lectures, days in the library, studying for the exam, preparing the 7,000-word portfolio OR shadowing medics to make up practice hours.
There is a lot to do in one day a week, on top of juggling your job, home commitments and maintaining a social life.
Fortunately, I made friends with two other nurses on the course, from different fields; endocrinology and diabetes. We made a group chat on Whatsapp and set up study sessions together and acted as cheerleaders day and night. We all had different learning styles and together we shared knowledge in different ways and helped each other with varying strengths and weaknesses. I have a lot of gratitude for their knowledge and passion, they are a huge part of why I passed the course and as a testament to our Sundays in the library. Our hard work paid off, we all passed our exam with 100%. Teamwork really is dream work!
My top tips to anyone considering this module
- Take annual leave around weekends to have extra days off to focus on your studying and coursework, you really will need it.
- Make sure you invest in textbooks and read the relevant chapters ahead of the lecture, it will mean you are closer to consolidating learning after lectures.
- Form a small study group of people, you can learn effectively together.
- Organize your time. Having 1 day a week to do so many things is a challenge, plan how you will use your study days to match the stage of the course you are in and match it with your learning needs.
I was listed as a prescriber on the NMC register after four weeks of completing and passing the course. I am super excited about commencing my prescribing practice in the new year.