Prescribing Medication as a PT
There have been some interesting developments this week. First I've discovered that I'm allowed to prescribe medications here in the UK. There are procedures known as Patient Groups Directions. What this does is establish who can prescribe certain medications for certain illnesses or presentations. I've known that the nurses have been able to do this for a while, but never even thought PTs would be allowed (based upon my experience in the USA where I would have to get MD orders to change or start anything). The nurses I work with had also never thought of it because they've never had a staff physio prior to my arrival.
This will have a tremendous impact upon my work with respiratory patients. I will now be able to initiate nebulizer treatments of salbutamol or ipratropium, antibiotic therapy and/or steroid therapy for people with an exacerbation of COPD or asthma. I will have to work within the guidelines established by the NHS and Health Professions Council, of course. I will also need to undergo training in the indications, contraindications, side-effects and interactions for each of the medications I will be prescribing.
For a number of conditions or diagnoses, there are set guidelines for the initiation of medical treatment established through the department of health, NHS clinical governance boards and the health professions council.
This is an incredible benefit to the patients who will not have to wait any additional time for the initiation of pharmacological intervention, a benefit to the nurses I work with who will not have to make a visit solely to initiate that intervention, and it is a huge testimony to the trust and regard given to physiotherapists here in the UK.
The second thing that developed was my final acceptance into the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. More about that next week.