Influences on Paramedic Prescribing: Student and Prescriber Perspectives

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Background: Paramedic prescribing has been permitted in legislation from 2018. In 2019 one of the first cohorts of paramedic prescribers in the country was invited to share their experiences, thoughts and perceptions around the new and evolving role of paramedic prescribing practice.

Aim: To explore the opinions of student and newly qualified paramedic prescribers regarding the impact and effectiveness of paramedic independent prescribing on their clinical practice.

Design and setting: A qualitative study was undertaken within the North East of England with a group of experienced paramedics undertaking non-medical prescribing education.

Methods: A focus group and dyad interview were undertaken with a purposive sample of paramedics recruited from a higher education institution providing V300 independent and supplementary prescribing education. The focus group was undertaken with paramedics on the non-medical prescribing (NMP) programme of study. The dyad interview was undertaken with participants once qualified as prescribers, and actively prescribing. The focus group and interview were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and subjected to thematic analysis to identify key themes.

Results: A total of n = 7 and n = 2 paramedics undertook the focus group and dyad interview, respectively. Paramedics in this sample represented a range of paramedic practice areas. Paramedic NMP students noted four key themes around role, expectations, governance and opportunities and challenges in relation to prescribing practice. The returning sample of paramedics, now practising as prescribers, noted themes of organisational and infrastructure challenges, monitoring of prescribing practice and the evolution of paramedic roles.

Conclusion: Paramedic prescribing is rapidly expanding and evolving into new clinical areas. As such, careful consideration should be given to not only the resourcing of prescribers as individuals, but also the wider organisational and technological support and structures needed to be in place to allow paramedic prescribers to fulfil their roles and utilise their advanced practice skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Paramedic Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

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