In the second of our series on the V300 Non-Medical Prescribing course, Karen describes her study, the tough exams and the rigour of compiling a portfolio.
However, she says that she’s used it every working day since and it also makes her a better practitioner.
Karen Sherratt’s Experience
Transfique clinic, Flintshire
“I did not make a conscious decision to do the prescribing course, I had undertaken a Master course and knew from the start I would have to do the prescribing at the end.
“Masters course completed I started to look closely at what was involved to become a non medical prescriber. My first flush of stress came when realised I had to do a pre course calculation test, I was sent links to do practice tests to help me. What I found was it was very easy to make a simple mistake and fail a question. At this point I became increasingly anxious, however pre course test passed and so to apply for the most gruelling 6 months of my life.
“The course varies slightly from university to university, but basically there are three exam papers with 80%, 80% and 100% pass mark – no pressure!!! There is also an Osce under exam conditions plus a reflective essay around a consultation and prescription plus an amount of reading that’s hard to quantify!!
“Once on the course and the content explained, the pressure felt greater in a way but also achievable if the advice offered was followed – and there was lots of helpful advice. There is online material that the university give you to access and a work pages which are really useful for adding to your portfolio of evidence (oops forgot to mention that!). Chester uni also sent out calculations which they’re marked and gave individual feedback each week. As well as an online blog for the group to support each other, share information and ask questions, the tutors often responded to stressed comments as way of support as well as giving guidance to the issue raised.
“The book Independent and Supplementary Prescribing: An Essential Guide was recommend to me and has EVERYTHING in it you need to know to pass the written papers. Understanding the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics was a little baffling initially but read read and read some more it all becomes clear.
“The day of the Osce came. I had a dreadful cold affecting my hearing and would have to manually take a blood pressure and get it within a tight margin of the assessor so reading. I explained I was having difficulty hearing, but the response was ‘if you can’t hear the reading it’s a fail’ – no pressure at all. (I thankfully was OK to hear it clearly).
“The course continued my office looked like I’d been burgled! Papers everywhere, portfolio coming together, panicking that I didn’t know enough and had no time squeeze any more reading – complete panic one month before the exams.
“The exam came and went. I had one calculation that was a really odd answer, checked it many many times and several ways of calculating to still get the same answer. I accepted defeat and submitted my papers certain I had failed the calculations paper.
“Results day came and I was convinced I had failed. On checking the results I had to look twice I had passed all papers !! The relief was immense and my headache finally resolved.
“That was 2009, and I have prescribed every day I work.
“Audits show non medical prescribers are far more effective when prescribing appropriately for given conditions, follow antimicrobial guidelines and streamline the patient journey when prescribing is necessary. On speaking with medical colleagues they comment that they had minimal training in prescribing and the law compared to the v300 course. The course was tough, stressful and the pressure regarding the pass rates was intense. However I have no regrets.
“If you want to do this course you will have to be focused and commit your life to it for 6 months; but it will be worth it.”
Karen Sherratt, Transfique
For more information about this course, see our article Non-Medical Prescribing V300 Course.
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