Pursuant to 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.
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 other training and assessments to be completed at specified times. At the time this came into force in 2016 it was recommended that yearly monitoring of specialist nurse prescribers would be appropriate and would support safe implementation of the model.
This annual evidence of continuing competence for Registered Nurses prescribing in Primary Heath and Specialty Teams is inconsistent with the continuing competence requirements set by Council for the other two prescribing roles regulated by Council:
- Registered nurses who as Designated Prescribers prescribe in Community Health from a limited list of medicines; and
- Nurse Practitioners who prescribe from the full Schedule of medicines.
There have been no issues around prescribing and the Council has agreed that registered nurses authorised to prescribe must provide to the Council, with their application for a practising certificate, evidence that they have maintained their prescribing competence every three years rather than yearly.
1. Title and Commencement
This notice replaces the Medicines (Designated Prescriber – Registered Nurses) (New Zealand Gazette, 18 August 2016, Notice No. 2016-gs4766) and comes into force on 30 June 2022.
The Schedule to this notice sets out the requirements that the Council has determined must be met by registered nurses practising in collaborative primary health and specialty teams who wish to prescribe specified prescription medicines (A.1.). These requirements are imposed under Regulation 5 of the Medicines (Designated Prescriber – Registered Nurses) Regulations 2016.
A. Requirements for Prescribing (Regulation 6)
1. The Council requirements for education and training that registered nurses must complete before commencing to prescribe for the first time in primary health and specialty teams are as follows:
- A minimum of three years’ full-time equivalent practice in the area they intend to prescribe with at least one year of the total practice in New Zealand or a similar healthcare context; and
- the completion of a Council-approved postgraduate diploma in registered nurse prescribing for long-term and common conditions or equivalent as assessed by the Council; and
- completion of a practicum with an authorised prescriber, which demonstrates knowledge to safely prescribe specified prescription medicines and knowledge of the regulatory framework for prescribing; and
- a satisfactory assessment of the competencies for nurse prescribers completed by an authorised prescriber.
B. Other Training to be Undertaken (Regulation 7)
Registered nurses who prescribe must undertake:
- sixty hours of professional development every three years of which twenty hours must be related to prescribing; and
- forty days of prescribing practice per year.
C. Continuing Competence (Regulation 8)
Registered nurses authorised to prescribe must provide to the Council evidence that they have maintained their prescribing competence with their application for a practising certificate, every three years.
Dated at Wellington this 11th day of April 2022.
CATHERINE BYRNE, Registrar, Nursing Council of New Zealand.