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Supervisor presentation Independent and Supplementary Non- Medical Prescribing

Guidance for Supervisors

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have recently amended their guidance and separated the roles of assessor and supervisor. Previously, students were supported and assessed by nurse / midwife ‘mentors’. This amendment reflects changes to the new undergraduate curricula, which will equip all nurses and midwifes to become assessors and supervisors upon qualification.

Separating the roles of assessor and supervisor should assist in assessment objectivity and allow students to gain experience, knowledge and skills through working with a range of healthcare professionals. Feedback and evidence from these healthcare professionals will feed into the assessment process. The Assessor, in partnership with the University, must feel confident that any supervisor fully understands the learning outcomes that the student is trying to achieve, and only accept evidence around student competence from individuals whom they deem to possess the appropriate and up-to-date knowledge and skills to support a student.

A video has been produced by colleagues from the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter. It contains guidance for those working with undergraduate students, but also contains some useful generally information around the assessor and supervisor roles:

Links to the new NMC standards:

Supervision & Non-medical prescribing (NMP)

The new NMC Prescribing Standards state that the new assessor and supervisor roles should be implemented within Non-Medical Prescribing (NMP) programmes, as with the undergraduate curricula. However, the NMC are also expected to issue further information specifically relating to NMP programmes. They have indicated that this is likely to be multi-professional in nature. It might therefore adopt Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) guidance, as they have in with the RPS (2016) Competency Framework for all Prescribers.

Whilst awaiting further information, in order to ensure clarity and quality, we as a University have decided that Assessors for nurses and midwives must either be a Designated Medical Practitioner or on the same part of the register as the nurse or midwife they are assessing. Additionally, they must of course be an independent and supplementary non-medical prescriber.

The GPhC has also issued new prescribing standards and are adopting the role of Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPPs) for those who support and assess pharmacist NMP students. This role was previously only undertaken by DMPs. Therefore, we are referring to all DMPs, DPPs and healthcare professionals who assess NMP students in clinical practice as Assessors.

Your role as a supervisor will be to liaise closely with both NMP students and their Assessors, supporting the learning and assessment process. Practice supervisors must be health-care professionals currently registered with the NMC, GMC, GPhC or HCPC. Health and social care workers who are not registered with a professional body cannot be practice supervisors. However, others may feed into the overall educational process, such as healthcare assistants and teachers.

As a practice supervisor, you may not be required to undertake ‘formal’ training, although you should be suitably prepared for undertaking this role. For example, you may already be highly trained and experienced in supporting students.

You must feel confident that you fully understand the learning outcomes that the student is trying to achieve, and only provide evidence around student competence if you possess the appropriate and up-to-date knowledge and skills to support an NMP student.

If you are concerned a student is not making steady progress, or you have concerns about unsafe practice you should immediately arrange a meeting between yourself, the Assessor, the personal tutor and the student. It is our intention to support students in practice so as to enable them to become competent and safe prescribers.

You are welcome to contact us for a copy of the NMP Assessor Handbook, which contains more information about NMP student assessment in Practice. This information is also be available through the Universities' Mentor Centre:

What is Independent & Supplementary Non-medical prescribing?

Non-medical prescribing is defined by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) as ‘prescribing by specially trained nurses, optometrists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, radiographers and dietitians working within their clinical competence as either independent and/or supplementary prescribers’ (2016, p.16). In 2018, paramedics joined this group of eligible health professionals.

Independent prescribing is ‘prescribing by a practitioner, who is responsible and accountable for the assessment of patients with undiagnosed or diagnosed conditions and for decisions about the clinical management required, including prescribing’ (RPS, 2016, p.16).

Supplementary prescribing is ‘a voluntary partnership between a doctor or dentist and a supplementary prescriber to prescribe within an agreed patient-specific clinical management plan (CMP) with the patient’s agreement. Nurses, optometrists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, radiographers and dietitians may become supplementary prescribers and once qualified may prescribe any medicine within their clinical competence, according to the CMP’ (RPS, 2016, p.16). Again, paramedics are now included within this group of eligible health professionals.

ABOUT THE NMP PROGRAMME

This programme is undertaken over a six-month period. It is delivered via blended learning consisting of 10 face-to-face taught days, one day of examination and 16 self-directed days assisted by a distance-learning package. There are an additional 90 hours in practice supported by a suitably qualified assessor. Successful completion will lead to a recordable qualification as Independent and Supplementary prescriber with the appropriate regulatory body (NMC/HCPC/GPhC).

The programme will enable students to develop existing professional expertise, develop new clinical assessment / prescribing skills and includes aspects relating to pharmacology, psychology, ethics, legal aspects and governance issues relating to Non-Medical Prescribing.

In order to successfully complete the NMP programme and register as an Independent and Supplementary Prescriber, the student must complete the NMP programme, including the required number of study / practice hours and successfully pass all assignments.

Your contribution in relation to providing supervision, support and opportunities to develop competence in practice is crucial within the learner’s minimum of 90 hours in practice, whilst undertaking the programme. This might include activities with you such as:

  • Working alongside you in practice, observing history taking and assessing patients, reflecting on prescribing practice
  • Taking histories and assessing patients as part of their practice assessment
  • Working alongside and observing specialists and other independent and supplementary prescribers
  • Reflecting on their own practice and critically evaluating prescribing practice
  • Attending Continuing Professional Development relevant to prescribing practice e.g. a conference
  • Making (theoretical) prescribing decisions
Single Competency Framework for All Prescribers.

Throughout the programme students will be expected to apply the Competency Framework for All Prescribers (RPS, 2016) within their areas of practice:

Assessed period of practice learning

This period of learning is to be overseen by the Assessor who will be expected to sign off the student as having completed the formative and summative period of learning in practice and state whether or not the required dimensions of competency have been met. Supervisors may be asked for assistance in supporting achievement of these competencies and obtaining evidence as part of this process.

If at any time you require further information regarding the supervisor role relating to NMP, please do not hesitate to contact our team. We look forward to working collaboratively to support our NMP students:
  • Beth Hawkes, Programme Lead (Plymouth) beth.hawkes@plymouth.ac.uk
  • Linda Duggan, Senior Lecturer (Plymouth) linda.duggan@plymouth.ac.uk

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