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Nurse prescribing in community health rolled out

Monday, September 11, 2017

National News

Family Planning nurses are taking advantage of expanded designated nurse prescribing rights, following a decision by the Ministry of Health.

Registered nurses who have been supplying medication under standing orders and have undergone a Nursing Council-approved recertification programme are participating in a roll-out of registered nurse prescribing in community health.

This will allow them to prescribe necessary medicines and contraception such as the oral contraceptive pill, condoms and emergency contraception.

There are now two levels of designated nurse prescriber:

  1. Registered nurse prescribing in primary health and specialty teams
  2. The new level of registered nurse prescribing in community health

It is to this new level of prescribing in community health that Family Planning nurses are applying.

It will provide access to a more limited list of medications than nurses prescribing in primary health and specialty teams.

Family Planning has long been advocating for nurse prescribing rights and our National Nurse Advisor Rose Stewart calls it a win for both nurses and clients.

“We’ll be able to offer our clients a smarter, more efficient service, as our nurses will be able to work at the top of their scope without unnecessary supervision. It’s going to free up valuable time and resources for both nurses and doctors.”

Family Planning nurse prescribers will be mentored as they take part in our recertification programme focusing on pharmacology. This is completed alongside their regular professional training at Family Planning.

If the Nursing Council approves their application, they will then be authorised to prescribe from the list of community health medications.

Ms Stewart says this new process is ground-breaking. “Not so long ago the only nurse prescribers were nurse practitioners who held a clinical Master’s degree.“

Prescribing in community health is currently being rolled out in a joint project run by the Nursing Council, Counties Manukau DHB and Family Planning. It will be evaluated before other health provider teams and organisations can develop recertification programmes for their nurses to do the same.

Six Family Planning nurses have successfully become nurse prescribers in community health within the roll-out since these changes to legislation were made in November 2016, and 16 more nurses are in the process. 

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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