Hawke’s Bay DHB gets programme endorsement for community health nurse prescribing

Registered nurses practising in community settings can now train through Hawke’s Bay DHB to prescribe a limited number of medicines for minor ailments and illnesses in normally healthy people without significant health problems.

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Chris McKenna said the ability for community-based registered nurses (RN’s) to train in prescribing through a work-based programme was a game changer for patients and the community nursing workforce.

“Registered nurses who work in primary and community health teams in Hawke’s Bay can now become registered to prescribe medications through the Registered Nurse Prescribers in Community Health (RNPCH) programme run by Hawke’s Bay DHB.

“This will not only improve patient care without compromising patient safety, making it easier for patients to obtain medicines they need, but it also optimises the full breadth of skill and knowledge within the RN workforce.”

Mrs McKenna said the RNPCH programme was first piloted by Counties Manukau DHB in 2017 with Hawke’s Bay becoming the first DHB since the pilot to achieve endorsement to run the programme.

Hawke’s Bay DHB will provide clinical governance for the programme and will manage its coordination, education, assessment and credentialing of eligible registered nurses. The programme builds on existing nursing practice and knowledge as well as provides specific prescribing practice, education, support, mentoring and training.

Mrs McKenna said uptake would be gradual with no more than 12 spaces for the DHB’s initial intake, before opening up more spaces for its second intake expected to get underway about 9 to 12 months later.

“Expressions of interest will go out to registered nurses keen to participate. Every three years qualified nurse prescribers are required to provide evidence they have maintained continuing competence when applying for their practising certificate.”

The RN medicine prescribing list is divided into four sections: prescription medicines for common conditions, prescription medicines for contraception and sexual health, non-prescription medicines and devices.

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