Independent and Supplementary Prescribing (Certificate in Professional Studies)

Nurse checking patients blood pressure

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Oxstalls, Gloucester

Take your career to the next level through this NMC and HCPC-accredited course.

This part-time course is designed to meet your continuing professional development (CPD) needs, fitting around your existing work in a healthcare profession, such as therapeutic radiography, nursing, midwifery, public health nursing, physiotherapy, paramedic practice or podiatry. Accredited by both the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), on graduation from this Level 7 (30 credit) course you’ll be ready to become an Independent and Supplementary Non-Medical Prescriber.

Studying one day per week over a period of 15 taught days and a minimum of 112.5 hours of self-directed learning, supported by workbooks, online lecture material and e-learning exercises, you will be undertaking an appropriate mix of theoretical learning and supervised practice.

The course follows the Professional Statutory Registering Bodies’ mandatory curriculum for prescribers, including the study of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, actions of neurotransmitters, adverse drug actions and interaction, as well as the theory of good prescribing practice, clinical governance, law and ethics, and also history taking, clinical assessment and consultation skills associated with prescribing practice.

Drawing on the expertise of experienced healthcare professionals, you’ll develop a critical understanding of factors that underpin safe, appropriate and cost-effective prescribing and how to make best use of evidence-based theory as you make prescribing decisions.

You’ll improve your personal approach to assessment, history-taking and interpreting diagnostic indicators, while building your understanding of legal, professional and ethical issues. By the end of the course, you’ll be well equipped to provide holistic care that meets patient needs.

Get Independent and Supplementary Prescribing (Certificate in Professional Studies) course updates and hear more about studying with us.

Study style

This is a part-time course and you will study one day per week over a period of 15 taught days.

You will learn through a blended approach that includes a variety of methods, such as e-learning through the virtual learning environment (moodle), online lectures and guided home study, individual support tutorials, face to face lectures, guided reflection, library study and a minimum of 90 hours spent within a practice placement, with your clinical practice supported and mentored by healthcare professionals who are already qualified in the subject areas you wish to study. This will enable you to achieve the HCPC and NMC standards of proficiency for prescribing.

The prescribing programme is assessed using a variety of methods including written exams, online assessments, OSCEs and reflective case studies. You will also be required to create a portfolio of evidence, demonstrating your clinical competency against the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s 2016 framework of competency for non-medical prescribers.


This course has both Formative and Summative assessments that are spread out throughput the six-month study period, in order to prevent overloading the student at the end of the course. These include:

  • 3000 word reflective case study, describing one of the patients seen during practice placement
  • Pharmacology essay, explaining the mode of action of two of the students chosen drugs
  • Portfolio of evidence to demonstrate that the student has achieved all of the competencies listed in the 2016 document by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society entitled: A Competency Framework for all Prescribers
  • 2 hour pharmacology exam
  • 1 hour numeracy exam
  • An Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) undertaken with a patient during the clinical placement

Assessments are set out by the professional statutory registering bodies, and applicants can therefore visit the HCPC or NMC websites for further information if required.


Lectures take place at Oxstalls campus and run from 9.30 until 4.30 pm. The course consists of a minimum of 300 hours of study. The is broken down as follows:

  • 15 face-to-face clinical teaching/exam sessions each lasting 6.5 hours = 97.5 hours
  • A minimum of 90 hours in clinical placement with support from the designated prescribing practitioners (DPPs)
  • 112.5 hours of self-directed learning, supported by workbooks, online lecture material and e-learning exercises

The professional statutory bodies require 100% attendance for all clinical teaching activities, and the University therefore holds registers for teaching days and monitors and records all online student activity to ensure that these Professional Statutory Registering Bodies’ requirements are met.

The course runs twice yearly, with teaching dates commencing in either October or April. An induction day is held prior to the start of the course to complete registration, and run through the course requirements with the students who have successfully enrolled onto the course.

Entry requirements

Before applying for this course, it is essential that students must have:

  • Current professional registration, either in parts 1 of the NMC professional register or HCPC registration with legislative rights to prescribe.
  • A minimum of 1 years post registration experience in a clinically relevant field – that is, the clinical specialist field they have chosen to study on the prescribing course.
  • Health Assessment, diagnosis and clinical decision making skills relevant to the specialist field they have chosen to study.
  • NMC registrants must have secured two Designated Prescribing Practitioners, a practice Assessor and a Practice Supervisor. The DPPs must have relevant experience and qualifications in the specialist clinical field the student has chosen to study, and must fulfil the NMC requirements for the practice supervisor/practice assessor role, and have agreed to support the student in their 90 hour clinical placements. Note: two separate people must fulfil these two separate roles.
  • HCPC registrants must have secured a Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) with relevant experience and qualifications in the clinical specialist field they have chosen to study, and who fulfils the HCPC requirements for practice educators.
  • For staff being funded by the NHS: Line manager and NMP-Lead approval.
  • An up to date enhanced DBS declaration that allows the student to work with vulnerable patients
  • Personal indemnity insurance (or NHS equivalent)
  • A successful interview with the Academic Course Lead for the Independent and Supplementary Prescribing course at the University of Gloucestershire.


See the further details of tuition fees when studying a course at the University of Gloucestershire.


Progression through this award will enable practitioners to link learning to their revalidation and online portfolio of CPD, demonstrating evidence of professional development in safe prescribing practices.

Meet the Lecturer

Discover more about your course by visiting the university to speak with one of our lecturers. Learn about the modules, teaching style and the modes of assessment by speaking to our experts, and get a feel for the facilities you'll be using. Visit our Meet the Lecturer page to find out more and book your place.

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Meet NMC Standards

This course is fully accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, ensuring you’ll meet NMC proficiency standards for prescribing.

Pile of books

Become a safe prescriber

You will gain the knowledge and skills to become a safe non-medical prescriber and undertake the role of an Independent and Supplementary Non-Medical Prescriber.

Nurses working

Build your CPD portfolio

You’ll be able to link your learning in safe prescribing practices to your revalidation and online portfolio of continuing professional development.

School of Health and Social Care

Our School of Health and Social Care offers you access to the latest equipment, facilities and placements to bring learning to life and make you a confident practising professional. We will support you to care for yourself so you'll be more resilient and efficient when caring for others.

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