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Postgraduate Certificate in Non-Medical Prescribing

Non-medical prescribing aims to provide patients with quicker and more efficient access to medicines and to make the best use of the skills of pharmacists, nurses, midwives and allied health professions.

Through the taught days and the supervised days in practice, the attending professionals will further develop in a number of areas the theoretical knowledge required for prescribing as well as applying that knowledge to their practice.  The areas covered include:

  • Consultation and diagnostic reasoning
  • Decision making from the patients and prescribers perspective;
  • Prescribing in a team context;
  • Influences on, and psychology of prescribing;
  • Basic pharmacology and applied therapeutics;
  • Principles and methods of monitoring;
  • Evidence-based practice and clinical governance in relation to non-medical prescribing;
  • Legal, policy, professional and ethical aspects of prescribing;
  • Prescribing in the public health context.

The programme is designed to prepare nurses and midwives to practise as an Independent Prescriber and allied health professionals to practice as Supplementary Prescribers.  In doing so, it meets the relevant standards set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the Health Professions Council (HPC).  Furthermore, the programme develops the critical analysis and personal reflection skills of course participants and prepares them for lifelong professional development.

The Programme

The course is made up of two 30 credit modules at Masters Level which equates to at least 600 hours of student engagement.  It can either be undertaken as a stand-along Postgraduate Certificate: Non-medical Prescribing (60 credits at M level) or as part of the MSc Advanced Practice: Non-medical Prescribing.

The programme runs over three terms (October 2013 to June 2014) and comprises of:

  • 26 study days at Cardiff University, of which 19 are taught, 6 are directed study and 1 is an assessment day.
  • The equivalent of 12 days (as a minimum) learning in practice, developing clinical assessment and prescribing skills under the supervision of a Medical Practitioner, who is for this purpose referred to as the Designated Supervising Medical Practitioner (DSMP).  This equates to 78 hours for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, based upon the NMC / HPC requirements.
  • A total of 300 hours in practice must be achieved during the programme.
  • An extensive amount of study time including self directed, or programme /DSMP directed study, assignment writing and completion of a Prescribing Portfolio.
  • Please note: some of the study days are mandatory for all professions.

Methods of Teaching and Learning

  • These consist of interactive workshops, tutorials, self directed study, web based learning, discussions and debate and expert led lectures.
  • Role play simulation will develop core elements of clinical patient assessment and medical history taking skills, using Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE).  These are designed to prepare students for further supported learning within their clinical domain, under the supervision of their DSMP.

Learning in Practice

You are required to complete 12 days supervised practice under the supervision of your DSMP.  Their role is to provide supervision, guidance and appraisal to help develop your prescribing skills.  It is therefore essential that you establish a sound working and supportive relationship with this medical practitioner.

To facilitate this time, commitment to clinical supervision (78 hours for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals and 90 hours for pharmacists), is mandatory and associate supervisors can be appointed.  However, there are certain aspects of your assessment in practice that must be completed by the primary DSMP.

All DSMP’s receive a course handbook which provides comprehensive information about the course and the role and the responsibilities of DSMP’s.  
In addition the University runs a half day  DSMP study session to provide further information about the course and the role. 


The assessment for the course is both theoretical and practice based.  Each practitioner will be assessed on their numerical competence and therapeutic knowledge. They will also be assessed by Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCEs) in their practice setting, a prescribing portfolio and a number of practice related assignments.

Entry Requirements

Anyone wishing to enrol on the programme will need to:

  • be currently registered with the NMC or HPC
  • have at least 3 years appropriate patient orientated experience as a qualified nurse, midwife or allied health professional
  • identify a clinical area in which to develop your prescribing practice
  • have documented evidence of support from your organisation and your potential DSMP
  • have practiced in your proposed field of prescribing for at least 1 year (nurses/midwives/allied health professionals) immediately preceding your application
  • demonstrate how you reflect on your own performance and take responsibility for your own CPD
  • demonstrate how you will develop your own networks for support including prescribers from other professions
  • possess basic computer skills (typing, internet, use e-mail, etc)

Application Process

Comprehensive information and key dates regarding the application process can be found here, including links to the  on-line application form and supplementary application form

You may also wish to complete an ' AP(E)L and Exemption Application Form for Postgraduate Certificate in Non-medical Prescribing '

For further information regarding applications please contact:  Selection and Admissions   Email: or Tel: 029 2068 7537 

Length of Course

The course runs over 3 terms, from September to June. 

Start date

30 September 2014

Programme Fees 2014-2015


For further details regarding the course, please contact:

Mr Anthony Pritchard

Position:Lecturer: Adult Nursing
Mr Anthony Pritchard
Telephone: +44 (0)29 206 87802Extension: 87802

School Information Desk

Phone: +44 (0)29 2068 7766

Cardiff School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies
Cardiff University
Ty Dewi Sant, Heath Park Campus
CF14 4XN