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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 59 (2017) 4, 229 - 233

Short report

Prescribing psychotropic medication by the nurse practitioner in mental health care: an explorative study

E.D. Rookhuizen, B. Stringer, M.S. Huising, E. de Ruijter, B. van Meijel

background Since January 1, 2012, nurse practitioners (np) working in mental health care are allowed to prescribe psychotropic medication. So far, there has been very little research on the results of this decision that now let nps share with doctors prescribing psychotropic drugs.
aim To provide insight into how patients and psychiatrists experience the prescribing behaviours of nps and how nps themselves regard their extended role.
method We performed an explorative study in which we used the data given in prescriptions written by nps, questionnaires exploring patients’ experiences and semi-structured interviews with psychiatrists and nps.
results Between May 2014 and May 2015, 13 nps wrote 3542 prescriptions for 565 unique patients. On the whole, patients, psychiatrists and nps expressed positive views on the prescribing of psychotropic medication by nps.
conclusion Our research project confirms that the various stakeholders are satisfied with the prescribing practices of nps. A follow-up study is needed in order to ascertain whether there are qualitative differences between the prescriptions of nps and those of doctors.

keywords nurse practitioner, prescribing, task substitution