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Registered nurse prescribing in primary health and specialty teams

Registered nurses prescribing in primary and specialty teams prescribe from a list of medicines  for common and long-term conditions.

Nurses must be a part of a collaborative team so that the nurse can consult a doctor or mātanga tapuhi nurse practitioner if the patient's health concerns are more complex than they can manage.

Guidance for employers and nurse is available in Preparation and Guidance for Employers and RN Prescribers May 2020.

The guideline provides advice on maintaining safe prescribing practice and legal limitations for registered nurse prescribers.

Qualifications

Registered nurses who wish to prescribe in primary health and speciality teams are required to have:

  • a minimum of three years full-time practice in the area they intend to prescribe in with at least one year of the total practice in New Zealand or a similar healthcare context.
  • the completion of a Council-approved postgraduate diploma in registered nurse prescribing for long-term and common conditions or equivalent as assessed by the Nursing Council.
  • a practicum with an authorised prescriber, which demonstrates knowledge to safely prescribe specified prescription medicines and knowledge of the regulatory framework for prescribing.
  • a satisfactory assessment of the competencies for nurse prescribers completed by the prescribed mentor (authorised prescriber senior doctor or mātanga tapuhi nurse practitioner).
  • an RN prescribing role within a collaborative team which includes an authorised prescriber (senior doctor or mātanga tapuhi nurse practitioner) that will continue to provide mentorship and support for prescribing practice.

The programme outcomes for the postgraduate diploma in registered nurse prescribing for long-term and common conditions and Competencies for nurse prescribers (2016) are embedded in the education programme standards for mātanga tapuhi nurse practitioner master’s programmes. This means the postgraduate diploma may be credited to a mātanga tapuhi nurse practitioner master’s programme. It also ensures a consistent educational foundation for both types of prescribers.

Applying for authorisation to prescribe

Log onto MyNC and select and apply for registered nurse prescribing. You will be prompted to complete an online application, submit documents, make a declaration about your fitness to practise and complete the payment.


Please ensure that all documents are clearly named, and documents that need verification are signed.


You will be prompted to upload the following documents as part of your online application:

  • curriculum vitae (CV)
  • a letter from your service manager supporting your application
  • evidence of your successful completion of the postgraduate diploma in registered nurse prescribing for long-term and common conditions (for eQuals please email [email protected])
  • a letter from your prescribing mentor (senior doctor or mātanga tapuhi nurse practitioner) confirming that they will supervise your prescribing and that you are part of a collaborative multidisciplinary team
  • a satisfactory assessment of the competencies for nurse prescribers completed by a prescribing mentor (authorised prescriber - senior doctor or mātanga tapuhi nurse practitioner).
  • a sample (10 cases) of your prescribing log.

Recertification Audit Requirements - first year of registered nurse prescribing practice

All new registered nurse (RN) prescribers (primary health and specialty teams) will have a condition stating that they ‘must prescribe under supervision of an authorised prescriber for 12 months placed on their scope of practice for the first year of being authorised as an RN prescriber.

This condition is removed after completion of their first recertification audit.

After the first year of prescribing in primary health and specialty teams, RNs are required to provide evidence that they have maintained competence and practiced under supervision. This evidence includes:

  • Professional Development–a minimum of 20 hours of professional development activities relating to prescribing practice over the past three years.
  • Competence Assessment–a satisfactory assessment of the competencies for nurse prescribers completed by a prescribing mentor (authorised prescriber - senior doctor or mātanga tapuhi nurse practitioner).
  • Support Letter–a letter from your prescribing supervisor (authorised prescriber - senior doctor or mātanga tapuhi nurse practitioner) to confirm that you have completed 40 days (320 hours) of prescribing practice, maintained prescribing competence and prescribed under supervision for 12 months.

All recertification evidence needs to be submitted through MyNC. The nurse will receive an email reminder from Council staff six weeks before their recertification evidence is due.

Please ensure that all documents are clearly named, and documents that need verification are signed.

Recertification Audit Requirements

Each year, registered nurses (RN) prescribing in primary health and specialty teams are required to provide evidence that they have maintained ‘continuing competence’ when they apply for their practising certificate. The evidence required is:
  • Professional Development–a minimum of 20 hours of professional development activities relating to prescribing practice over the past three years
  • Support Letter–a letter from prescribing supervisor to confirm that the RN prescriber has completed 40 days (320 hours) of prescribing practice, and prescribing competence has been maintained.

All recertification evidence needs to be submitted through MyNC. The nurse will receive an email reminder from Council staff six weeks before their recertification evidence is due.

Please ensure that all documents are clearly named, and documents that need verification are signed.

Professional development relating to prescribing practice


  • Evidence of 20 hours of professional development should include activities relating to prescribing practice in addition to or other than the Prescribing Practicum paper completed as part of the prescribing qualification. There is an expectation that nurse prescribers will engage consistently in professional development relating to prescribing practice.
  • The level of your professional development should be appropriate to your scope of practice and work context.
  • Journal reading is only considered a professional development activity if it takes place within a framework, such as a journal club or to inform an educational or quality improvement process.
  • Meetings may be considered a professional development activity if they have an educational focus and include appropriate documentation (for example, minutes that clearly identify the education topic).
  • Reflection on professional development is not assessed as part of the RN prescribing recertification audit. If the relevance of the professional development activity to prescribing practice is not clear, a statement of learning may be required.
  • Registered nurses prescribing in primary health and specialty teams are required to provide evidence of a minimum 20 hours of professional development relating to prescribing practice over the past three years as part of the 60 hours of professional development required for all registered nurses.

You may wish to record your professional development via MyNC  on the 'Continuing Competence' tab.
Professional Development Activities Template (Word, 37 KB)