Purpose: To identify the prescribing patterns of gerontological nurse practitioners (GNPs) as reported on the Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Practice Profile. Specifically, the study examined (a) GNPs' frequency of prescribing certain categories of medications for older adults; (b) the influence of practice, education, and experience variables on prescribing practices of GNPs; and (c) the rate of prescribing inappropriate medications for older adults based on the list of medications on the modified Beers Criteria.
Data sources: The study was part of a larger descriptive survey that examined the practice characteristics of GNPs using the Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Practice Profile. A stratified random sample of 1000 GNPs certified by American Nurses Credentialing Center was sent surveys; 472 usable surveys were returned. Only the 234 GNPs who indicated that they were currently practicing full time as a GNP were included in this analysis.
Conclusions: Ninety-three percent of the respondents indicated that they had prescriptive privileges. The most commonly prescribed types of medications were analgesics, antihypertensives, cardiovascular drugs, and diabetic medications. The prescribing patterns of these GNPs were not influenced by education, years of practice, or selected practice characteristics. There was a significant difference in the prescribing of inappropriate medication among office-based GNPs and those who worked in long-term care settings. The GNPs in the ambulatory care setting had a tendency to prescribe inappropriate medications more frequently than those in long-term care facilities. Overall, self-reported prescribing of inappropriate medications among the GNPs participating in this study, however, was low.
Implications for practice: The findings of this study indicate that GNPs are prescribing medications for complex medical conditions.