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Why most new NPs have natural anxiety around prescribing

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Why most new NPs have natural anxiety around prescribing

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New nurse practitioner (NP) graduates find themselves equipped with real-world experience, expanded knowledge, and extensive training. Arguably the most significant change in the transition from nurse to nurse practitioner can also be the most intimidating – being granted prescriptive authority.

Why do most new NPs often have natural anxiety around prescriptive authority? Wanting the best patient outcomes is a driving force for NPs, who have worked hard to become more informed, skilled providers. Prescriptive authority is an imposing, high-level of responsibility. A patient in a vulnerable position relies on the judgment and expertise of the NP to prescribe the most appropriate and beneficial medication for his or her unique situation.  With so many variables at play and the wellbeing of the patient at stake, the weight of these decisions is deeply felt. 

Furthermore, prescriptive authority is heavily regulated by state and federal law.  Nurse practitioners’ responsibility for patient care now also extends into a greater level of liability. Medication errors that negatively impact the patient can have legal ramifications and increase costs for the patient and healthcare system as well. Looming fears over potential lawsuits or losing licensure can make prescriptive authority intimidating. 

Prescriptive authority has also evolved and changed for physicians and NPs. Over the last three decades, the number of medications available has increased significantly. Now there are over 20,000 approved prescription drugs on the market. This inherently means there is a lot more information for an NP to know.  The sheer volume of medications available to manage acute and chronic medical conditions raises the risks for adverse side effects and unforeseen drug interactions. The impact is not purely psychological for the prescriber, it is clinically relevant. 

So, then the question becomes, how can NPs manage prescriptive authority anxiety and improve patient outcomes? 

Quality, advanced pharmacology education is essential to well-placed prescriptive confidence. Appropriate training in advanced pharmacology and therapeutics is critical not only at the early stages of training but as ongoing development for healthcare providers as they continue their education over the course of their careers. 

A comprehensive, integrated, advanced pharmacology curriculum must involve not just core information about medications and interactions, but practiced, patient-specific application. This is where knowledge transfer becomes most relevant. 

Educational training and programs that encourage proper knowledge transfer build layers of comprehension. Explicit or core knowledge is the foundation for achieving a deeper understanding through practice and contextual integration, or tacit knowledge. Clinical application is the final step of knowledge transfer where core knowledge, real-world application, and clinical excellence coalesce, resulting in improved patient outcomes and clinical excellence. 

Beyond personal anxieties and legal vulnerabilities, NPs have completed their graduate programs, invested years in practice, and studied for licensure exams with one overarching goal in mind – excellent patient care. It is of paramount importance for the current and next generation of NPs to invest in their education continually, deepening their understanding through resources committed to knowledge transfer based training. Such a commitment to excellence not only strengthens the individual but elevates the NP community as a whole. 

Foundational and continuing advanced pharmacology education, utilizing knowledge transfer methodology, may seem difficult to acquire. High-Yield Med Reviews faculty have taught advanced pharmacology and therapeutics for NPs for over 20 years and understand the important aspects of your job as a provider. 

For further advanced pharmacology resources for NPs, visit https://www.highyieldmedreviews.com/np-pharmacology-and-therapeutics-review to learn more.

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Dr. Anthony Busti

Dr. Busti is the Founder & CEO of High-Yield Med reviews, an educational resource for Medical, Pharm, and Nursing students. He has a unique background as a healthcare provider and medical educator having trained and practiced as a nurse (BSN, RN), clinical pharmacist (PharmD), and a physician (MD). Dr. Busti is passionate about training healthcare providers not just to know the right answers to clinically relevant questions, but to truly grasp the rationales leading to those answers.

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