Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Influences on prescribing decision-making among non-medical prescribers in the United Kingdom: systematic review.

McIntosh, Trudi; Stewart, Derek; Forbes-McKay, Katrina; McCaig, Dorothy; Cunningham, Scott


Trudi McIntosh

Derek Stewart

Katrina Forbes-McKay

Dorothy McCaig

Scott Cunningham


Background - Suitably qualified non-medical healthcare professionals may now prescribe medicines. Prescribing decision-making can be complex and challenging; a number of influences have been identified among medical prescribers but little appears to be known about influences among non-medical prescribers (NMPs). Objective - To critically appraise, synthesize and present evidence on the influences on prescribing decision-making among supplementary and independent NMPs in the UK. Methods - The systematic review included all studies between 2003 and June 2013. Included studies researched the prescribing decision-making of supplementary and independent NMPs practising in the UK; all primary and secondary study designs were considered. Studies were assessed for quality and data extracted independently by two researchers, and findings synthesized using a narrative approach. Results - Following duplicates exclusion, 886 titles, 349 abstracts and 40 full studies were screened. Thirty-seven were excluded leaving three for quality assessment and data extraction. While all studies reported aspects of prescribing decision-making, this was not the primary research aim for any. Studies were carried out in primary care almost exclusively among nurse prescribers (n = 67). Complex influences were evident such as experience in the role, the use of evidence-based guidelines and peer support and encouragement from doctors; these helped participants to feel more knowledgeable and confident about their prescribing decisions. Opposing influences included prioritization of experience and concern about complications over evidence base, and peer conflict. Conclusion - While there is a limited evidence base on NMPs' prescribing decision-making, it appears that this is complex with NMPs influenced by many and often opposing factors.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 31, 2016
Journal Family practice
Print ISSN 0263-2136
Electronic ISSN 1460-2229
Publisher Oxford University Press (OUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Issue 6
Pages 572-579
Institution Citation MCINTOSH, T., STEWART, D., FORBES-MCKAY, K., MCCAIG, D. and CUNNINGHAM, S. 2016. Influences on prescribing decision-making among non-medical prescribers in the United Kingdom: systematic review. Family practice [online], 33(6), pages 572-579. Available from:
Keywords Consultation; Doctor patient relationship; Family health; Multidisciplinary care; Nurse practitioners; Pharmacology/drug reactions


You might also like

Downloadable Citations