Prescription drugs have become part of the daily lives of millions of people. However, they may not be aware that only some doctors have the option of writing prescriptions for these drugs. Can a registered nurse write prescriptions?
The importance of prescriptions
Prescription drugs are one of the main medical achievements that millions of people use every day.
These medications help nurses and doctors diagnose diseases, prevent disease, treat symptoms, and in some cases, treat diseases or conditions.
Prescription drugs can be in the form of pills, capsules, tablets, syrups, injections, patches, implants, nasal sprays and more. Even if prescribed by a doctor, they can be dangerous if used incorrectly.
Therefore, appropriate procedures and regulations for nurses apply. In fact, not all nurses can prescribe medication, and some need the doctor’s permission.
Can nurses prescribe medication?
Nurses can prescribe medications, including controlled substances, in all 50 states and Washington. That said, the degree of independence with which drugs, medical devices (e.g., Crutches) or medical services can be prescribed, varies depending on the NP state authorities.
The authority is the NP’s ability to work in its training, education and certification. A large element of this authority is the ability to prescribe medication, often with varying levels of medical supervision. Countries fall into three general categories: limited authority, limited authority and full practice. For example, NPs in many of the largest US states (e.g. California, Texas, Florida) operate under limited practice and must have an agreement with a collaborating physician to prescribe medication; other states (e.g. Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon) have granted NP full authorization to practice. In these areas, NPs may prescribe medication alone, including strictly regulated substances from Annex II-V, without medical supervision. Still other states, such as Vermont and New York, have a supervised probationary period, and newly created NPs must have a collaboration agreement with a physician. After usually one or three years of experience, IBOs are gradually becoming more autonomous in prescribing medication.
Writing prescriptions for controlled substances
Nurses can write prescriptions for some controlled substances, the only exceptions are Alabama and Florida.
The drugs in Annex I carry the highest risk of substance abuse and are therefore more limited. In fact, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) does not even consider Annex I drugs to be suitable for medical use.
Drugs from schedule V are such as codeine for cough and phenylephrine for decongestants.
As you will see, different states have their own laws regarding what medications the nurse prescribes. Sometimes an IBO may be free to prescribe medication himself, but at other times he may consult a doctor first.
Can NPs prescribe antibiotics?
Yes! Nurses in all 50 states may prescribe antibiotics with the appropriate certification. Antibiotics are uncontrolled substances. In other words, they pose a small risk of addiction or abuse.