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Registered Nurse Prescribing

Prescribing by registered nurses makes it easier for New Zealanders to get the medicines and care they need.

There are three levels of prescribing authority for nurses and each level has its own educational requirements:

  1. Registered nurse prescribers in primary health and specialty teams are designated to prescribe from a schedule of common medicines for common and long-term conditions.
  2. Registered nurse prescribers in community health are designated to prescribe a limited subset of medicines from the above schedule.
  3. Nurse practitioners have a distinct scope of practice to registered nurses and are authorised to prescribe nearly any prescription medicines.

You can check on the Register of Nurses to see if a nurse is authorised to prescribe.

The list of medicines that registered nurse prescribers may prescribe is specified by the Director-General of Health under the Medicines Act 1981. This list is published in the New Zealand Gazette and may be found here as notice 2022-go969.

All nurse prescribers are expected to keep up to date with changes to medicines using resources such as Health Pathways and/or other clinical guidelines, the New Zealand Formulary, New Zealand Formulary for Children and PHARMAC.