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Two Bay nurses gearing up to prescribe

21 March 2006

Two Bay nurses gearing up to prescribe

Two Bay of Plenty nurses are gearing up to prescribe a range of medicines under new regulations which came into effect in December 2005.

The regulations give qualified nurse practitioners - who have met rigorous requirements set by the Nursing Council - the right to prescribe a range of prescription medicines and controlled substances.

Previously only nurse practitioners in aged care and child family health had limited prescribing rights. Now, all nurse practitioners, if they choose, will be able to prescribe medications in their specific area of practice, for example, the treatment of chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardio-vascular disease.

There are currently 21 nurse practitioners in New Zealand - including one in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, the first Maori Nurse to achieve Nurse Practitioner status, Janet Maloney Moni, who has completed the clinical practicum for prescribing with a General Practitioner.

Tauranga Hospital Emergency Department Nurse, Alison McLean is currently completing her Masters programme, and undertaking her prescribing practicum with Emergency Department Clinical Director, Derek Sage, in preparation for seeking Nurse Practitioner registration.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board Director of Nursing, Christine Payne, says that Nurse Practitioners have to complete a clinical masters programme including specific Pharmacology modules to be approved as prescribers by the Nursing Council.

“The new regulations allow these very experienced, expert registered nurses to apply their knowledge, and skills in a new collaborative relationship with patients and medical colleagues. The Nurse Practitioner roles complement and provide alternatives to existing service models, which will result in improved access to services and improved patient outcomes,” says Ms Payne.

Ms Payne continued by saying “It is an exciting opportunity for experienced nurses, to work differently, and provides the health board with the ability to develop a more flexible workforce to meet our varied and challenging health care issues in the Bay of Plenty as we plan services for the future.”

The Ministry of Health will be responsible for maintaining and updating the list of medicines nurse practitioners can prescribe.

Health Minister Pete Hodgson said the new regulations are part of the government's wider work to build a more flexible and responsive health system.

ENDS

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