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New prescribing course for RN Certified Practice

Apr 15, 2024

On April 2, 2024, the BCCNM board approved a new prescribing course for RN Certified Practice. The Safe Prescribing for Registered Nurses with Certified Practice course is offered by the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC).

The board also approved corresponding revisions to the limits and conditions for certified practice RNs. This includes the requirement to complete the prescribing course. The updated limits and conditions are now in effect.

Certified practice RNs who complete the Safe Prescribing for Registered Nurses with Certified Practice course may apply for prescribing authority from BCCNM. After a prescriber number is issued, and when following the BCCNM prescribing standards, limits, and conditions, certified practice nurses may issue prescriptions for those medications included in the decision support tools for their certified practice designation.  

BCCNM will begin accepting applications from certified practice nurses who have completed the Safe Prescribing for Registered Nurses with Certified Practice course on April 30, 2024.

This course is available to RNs with certified practice in Remote Practice, RN First Call, Reproductive Health (Contraceptive Management), and Reproductive Health (Sexually Transmitted Infections). RNs and RPNs with certified practice in Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) are not required to complete this course to continue prescribing for the treatment of OUD.

​Key inform​​ation​​

  • ​​RNs and RPNs who hold a ​​certified practice designation may diagnose and treat certain diseases, disorders, and con​ditions or provide contraception as per their certified practice designation. Prescribing is only one aspect of a certified practice nurse's expa​nded scope.

  • "Prescribe" means to issue a prescription for a medication that will be filled by a pharmacist. This differs from “dis​pense," which is when the nurse provides the medication directly to the client.​

  • This new prescribing course is not mandatory to apply for, or maintain, a certified practice designation. Only nurses who wish to prescribe, and who meet all the conditions set out in BCCNM standards, limits, and conditions will be granted prescribing authority.

  • Certified practice nurses who do not have prescribing authority may continue to dispense medications to clients in accordance with the certified practice decision support tools and organizational policies and processes.

  • ​​Nurses certified in OUD are not required to take this new prescri​bing course. They will continue to diagnose and treat/prescribe for OUD as before. Note: if a nurse certified in OUD is also certified in other areas (e.g. Remote Nursing, RN First Call, Reproductive Health) and wishes to prescribe the medications outlined in their decision support tools for these other certified practice designations, they will need to take the new prescribing course offered by UNBC.​

  • ​Certified practice nurses who wish to prescribe must meet all the conditions set out by BCCNM, includ​ing:​​

  • ​​Successfully co​​mplete the additionally approved certified practice education for prescribing medications, including the Safe Prescribing for Registered Nurses with Certified Practice course offered by UNBC.

  • ​Have a BCC​NM-assigned prescriber number.​

  • ​Pres​​cribe only when they have the approval or are recognized by their organization/employer as a prescriber.

  • Prescribe ​only those medications as outlined within the decision support tools for their certified practice designation.

  • ​Have access to PharmaNet and document review of the client's PharmaNet medication profile when prescribing controlled drugs and substances.

We thank our partners for supporting this work to expand the scope of Certified Practice RNs to include prescribing. It's an important part of the provincial health human resources strategy and one of the ways BCCNM is supporting nurses to provide healthcare across the province.

​​​Certified practice

A reminder that prescribing is just one component of certified practice. RNs and RPNs who hold a certified practice designation are allowed to diagnose and treat certain diseases, disorders, conditions or provide contraception (as per their certified practice). The clinical decision-making is what is most critical to this expanded scope.