Conquering the ‘Fear Fortress’ – Returning to a mathematics exam as a Community Practitioner Nurse Prescriber

Davide Penazzi, Charlotte Smith


Building confidence is essential for qualified nurses undertaking numeracy assessments. This qualitative research study explores self-reported levels of confidence in nurses at various stages of the life-course, including when undertaking a numeracy test as part of the Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribing (CPNP) qualification. An hour-long, semi-structured focus group was conducted by the authors, and the resulting data was thematically analysed. The authors explored the experience of CPNP students returning to a learning and exam environment, and how this experience impacted on their confidence. Overall, a high level of confidence in the use of numeracy in clinical practice, but strong test anxiety, was identified in all participants. Participants reported an increase in confidence levels following the successful achievement of the numeracy test, with some going on to display advanced numeracy skills in clinical practice. Teaching staff have a responsibility to support returning learners to build confidence throughout this process and the authors conclude with some suggestions of how to support teaching and learning in this setting.


Non Medical Prescribing, Mathematics Anxiety, Test Anxiety, Confidence, Community Nurses.

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