From 1 July 2010, nurse practitioners in Victoria will have a notation on their national registration indicating a category or broad area of practice. This notation is for the purpose of Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (DPCS Act) authorisations when they are working as nurse practitioners within Victoria.

The notation is in one of the following eight areas:

  • nurse practitioner category – acute and supportive care
  • nurse practitioner category – care of the older person or aged care
  • nurse practitioner category – critical care
  • nurse practitioner category – maternity care
  • nurse practitioner category – mental health care
  • nurse practitioner category – paediatric care
  • nurse practitioner category – perioperative care
  • nurse practitioner category – primary care.

Pursuant to s. 14A(1) of the DPCS Act, the Minister for Health has approved a list of Schedule 2, 3, 4 and 8 medicines (referred to as poisons or classes of poisons in the DPCS legislation) for each nurse practitioner notation category.

A nurse practitioner with a notation for that category can, while practising as a nurse practitioner in Victoria, lawfully prescribe the medicines on that list (defined in the DPCS legislation as ‘obtain and to have in his or her possession and to use, sell or supply’).

Each list is very broad and reflects the potential prescribing practice across a variety of clinical domains, service models and settings, and across the continuum of care for that practice area.

The scope of an individual nurse practitioner’s prescribing practice is supported by their employer’s clinical governance framework. As registered nurses, nurse practitioners will also be guided by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s professional practice framework, which details how professional decision making within a sound risk management, professional, regulatory and legislative framework is to be managed.

For additional details about medicine approvals for all health practitioners, see ‘Secretary approvals’.

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