The management of medicines is a fundamental component of contemporary nursing care and a pervasive form of therapeutic intervention in healthcare (Medicines Partnership, 2002). In this chapter, we will focus on the skills and underpinning knowledge that you need to enable you to undertake an in-depth assessment of an individual’s use of medication, and how you can work in partnership with him or her to optimize safe, effective use, regardless of care setting. We will not address factors associated with the scheduled administration of medicines undertaken (for example, during the traditional ward drug round), although the principles articulated in this chapter are transferable. Likewise, the principles of good medicine management are also applicable to all of the chapters in this book on core conditions and health needs. Medicines are used to promote health, and to prevent, control, and treat disease. However, they are potent substances. All have side effects, and many interact adversely, not only with other medicines, but also with common fruit, vegetables, and food products. Ethnicity, race, age, weight, and gender can also affect an individual’s response to a specific medicine. Public access to medicines has increased hugely in the past decade, and prescriptive authority is no longer the sole right of medical practitioners. Nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, optometrists, and radiographers are now all able to prescribe a wide range of drugs. Patient group directions enable nurses and other health professionals to supply and administer drugs to patients without referral to a doctor, and medicines are increasingly available without prescription to purchase over the counter from a number of retail outlets and over the Internet. At the outset, it is clearly important to understand what we mean by ‘medicines management’; you will then appreciate the extent of your responsibilities and the skills that you need for competent practice. Medicines management is a complex subject and there have been several attempts to define it. The Audit Commission (2001: 5) defines it as:…the entire way that medicines are selected, procured, delivered, prescribed, administered and reviewed to optimise the contribution that medicines make to producing informed and desired outcomes of patient care….
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.