Non-Medical Prescribing

A new postgraduate programme from The Open University which will equip healthcare professionals to be independent or supplementary prescribers 


24 Aug 2019

PG Cert NMP (Open)

7  months

£3145 (provisional)

Distance learning

Why is this course important?

This Non-medical prescribing programme provides the knowledge, skills and training to prescribe safely and competently. This ensures patients are supported by a wide range of professionals within the healthcare team to optimise the use of their medicines and improve the quality monitoring of conditions and medicines used.

What is non-medical prescribing?

It has been the policy of the Department of Health to extend prescribing responsibilities and rights to a range of non-medical professions. This Post-Graduate Certificate provides the necessary qualification for healthcare professionals to be added to their appropriate regulator’s register as independent and/or supplementary prescribers.

Who is it for?

The OU programme will prepare qualified nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, physiotherapists, podiatrists and therapeutic radiographers to be Independent Prescribers, and diagnostic radiographers and dietitians to be Supplementary Prescribers.

Entry Requirements

You will need to:

  • Hold a degree from a UK university or equivalent, or, if you are a registered non-graduate practitioner, be able to demonstrate equivalent academic ability and professional experience
  • Be registered with an appropriate regulatory body
  • Have a current and valid Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and provide a signed declaration from the Trust as evidence
  • Have the appropriate length of experience as set by the respective regulatory body. This is currently two years for the GPhC, and three years for the HCPC.

Fees and how to pay:

The provisional fee is £3145

Please explore your access to local CPD funding to support you, particularly as there are very clear, longer term benefits to service if you are able to prescribe. Or check out the OU’s student budget account to spread the costs of study.

How long will it take to complete?

The expected time to complete this qualification is seven months and must be completed within 13 months to meet the requirements of the regulatory bodies.

The expected total study time is 600 hours which will include:

  • Attending the campus on four separate days for face-to-face activities
  • Four days of synchronous online forum-based activities
  • 18 days online study activities
  • 90 hours of supervised, in-practice learning

What will you achieve?

By the end of this course, you will:

  • Have a sound and critical understanding of the necessary clinical and practical aspects of prescribing in your own clinical area of practice. It will also allow you to gain and demonstrate appropriate knowledge of underpinning applied pharmacology.
  • This programme is designed to enable you to gain the knowledge and skills required to consolidate safe, appropriate and effective prescribing practice. It will provide suitable training for you to enhance your role and effectively use your skills and competencies to improve patient care in a range of settings.
  • Learning will equip you to become an Independent/Supplementary prescriber ready to be responsible and accountable for the assessment of patients with diagnosed and undiagnosed conditions, together with the required decision-making skills important to the clinical management required.
  • You will have the opportunity to consider the importance of research; develop the skills to use research evidence to continually promote best practice; consider the impact of local and national guidelines and to organise appropriate channels for their continued professional development.

What topics are covered

The three areas that you will study are Applied Pharmacology, Clinical Skills and Practical Aspects of Prescribing. As there is a great amount of overlap within these topics they have been combined into a single 60-credit module. Consequently, you will find that, although they are often presented as three entities, there are many crosslinks and references throughout.

How is the course delivered?


The teaching and learning elements are presented over an equivalent of 26 days, however, only four of these are based on campus. This offers significant flexibility to fit learning around your work and other commitments.

You are registered as an Open University student. The assessment and the final award are validated through and by the Open University. This includes course accreditation, governance and continued monitoring of the course. The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is provided and supported by our partner, The Institute of Clinical and Science Technology (ICST). ICST specialises in medical education and research. ICST has experience in delivering sustainable and scalable programmes to improve the quality of diagnoses and medicines optimisation within NICE guidelines and other guidance to secure improved patient outcomes.

ICST has recognised the magnitude of the Non-Medical Prescribing education provision proposed by the Open University and have risen to the challenge through the development of a bespoke infrastructure to maximise learning and exploit modern advances in the online delivery of learning.

How is the course assessed?

Within the NMP Assessment Strategy there will be seven summative assessments. Ongoing through the course these will include assessments on numeracy, pharmacology, clinical skills, example prescriptions and a clinical management plan, together with a practice-based assessment. At the end of the module, you will need to submit a log of your practice-based learning (90 hours minimum), a record of how you have demonstrated your competency as a prescriber against the RPS framework, along with a summative sign-off from your practice-based assessor.  The graded component of the final assessment will be in the form of a case study.


How will NMP enhance my practice?

This new Postgraduate Certificate will allow you to apply for annotation on your regulator’s register as a non-medical prescriber. It will open up opportunities for career development and aid you in providing an enhanced and highly valued role within your organisation.

Register your interest

Enter your name and email address to register your interest for this programme. You will be contacted by a member of the OU’s student enrolment team.

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