Preparing to prescribe: information for nurses, prescribing mentors and educators


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

  • 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
  • A practicum with an authorised prescriber, which demonstrates knowledge to safely prescribe specified prescription medicines and knowledge of the regulatory framework for prescribing;
  • Satisfactory assessment of the competencies for nurse prescribers completed by an authorised prescriber.

Preparing to prescribe in primary health and specialty teams Guidance for RNs and employers August 2016 (PDF, 412 KB)

Guidelines for registered nurse prescribing in primary health and specialty teams (PDF, 130 KB)

This guidelines has been developed to provide advice on maintaining safe prescribing practice within a collaborative team. It outlines the registered nurse’ prescribing authority and accountabilities, the legal limitations for designated prescriber, the requirement for team based care. Appendices contain information on the controlled drugs that authorised nurses may prescribe and the competencies for nurse prescribers.

The Prescribing Practicum

The prescribing practicum is the final component of the Postgraduate diploma in registered nurse prescribing for long term and common conditions. It consists of at least 150 hours of clinical practice under the supervision of a prescribing mentor in a collaborative health team environment. The practicum includes opportunities to develop diagnostic skills, patient consultation and assessment skills, clinical decision-making and monitoring skills.

The Nursing Council has developed guidelines to inform registered nurses and prescribing mentors the requirements for the practicum including demonstrating learning outcomes, the role of the prescribing mentor and evidence of competence to prescribe.

Guidelines Prescribing practicum for registered nurses preparing to prescribe in primary health and specialty teams September 2016 (Word 2007, 193 KB)

Applying for authorisation to prescribe

Return to top ^