Notice Type
General Section
Notice Title

Medicines (Designated Prescriber) – Registered Nurses Prescribing in Community Health Notice 2017

Under sections 105 and 105B of the Medicines Act 1981 and the Medicines (Designated Prescriber – Registered Nurses) Regulations 2016, the Nursing Council of New Zealand (“Council”) gives the following notice.


1. Title and commencement—This notice is the Medicines (Designated Prescriber) – Registered Nurses prescribing in Community Health Notice 2017 and comes into force on 6 July 2017.

2. Purpose—The Schedule to this notice sets out the requirements that the Council has determined must be met by registered nurses practising in community health services who wish to prescribe the prescription medicines specified on the Council website: These requirements are imposed under Regulation 5 of the Medicines (Designated Prescriber – Registered Nurse) Regulations 2016.


A. Requirements for Prescribing (Regulation 6)

The Council requirements for education and training that registered nurses must complete before commencing to prescribe for the first time in community health are as follows:

  1. A minimum of three years’ full-time equivalent practice with one year of the total practice being in the area of practice within which they intend to prescribe in New Zealand;
  2. completion of a Council-approved recertification programme for prescribing in community health;
  3. completion of a period of supervised practice with an authorised prescriber or designated senior nurse, to demonstrate knowledge to safely prescribe from the list of specified prescription medicines and knowledge of the regulatory framework for prescribing; and
  4. a satisfactory assessment against the competencies for registered nurse prescribing in community health by an authorised prescriber.

B. Other Training to be Undertaken (Regulation 7)

Registered nurses authorised to prescribe in community health must complete regular professional development to update their prescribing knowledge.

C. Continuing Competence (Regulation 8)

Registered nurses who prescribe in community health must participate in the monitoring of their prescribing competence through peer review, audit or credentialing by the approved recertification programme governance organisation and this participation will be reported to the Council three yearly. The Council will also require evidence that prescribing is incorporated into current practice.

Dated at Wellington this 7th day of June 2017.

CLARE PRENDERGAST, Acting Registrar, Nursing Council of New Zealand.

Explanatory note

Under the Medicines (Designated Prescriber – Registered Nurses) Regulations 2016 made under the Medicines Act 1981, the Nursing Council of New Zealand may set qualifications, training and assessment requirements for registered nurses commencing to prescribe for the first time and training and assessments to be completed at specified times. In 2013 the Council consulted on community nurse prescribing. The proposal was supported by submitters but the proposed list of medicines was considered too broad and the proposed education and training too short. The Council modified the proposal in 2016 and this prescribing authority is now being introduced at Counties Manukau Health and Family Planning and will be evaluated. In August 2016 the Council issued two notices that made changes to the registered nurse scope of practice (New Zealand Gazette, 18 August 2016, Issue No. 72, Notice No. 2016-gs4766) and introduced registered nurse prescribing in primary health and specialty teams (New Zealand Gazette, 18 August 2016, Issue No. 72, Notice No. 2016-gs4683). This notice sets the requirements for a registered nurse prescriber with more limited prescribing authority.