Guest Post: Nurse practitioner scope expanded to include opioid agonist treatment prescribing
I’m very pleased to let our pharmacist colleagues know that nurse practitioner (NP) scope was recently expanded to include prescribing opioid agonist treatment (OAT) drugs. This change is part of province-wide efforts to address the opioid overdose crisis and builds on NPs’ existing authority to prescribe controlled drugs and substances.
NPs who wish to prescribe OAT drugs must complete additional education and preceptorship as set out by the BC Centre on Substance Use, and meet all of the relevant standards, limits and conditions laid out in CRNBC’s Scope of Practice for Nurse Practitioners.
Please note that nurse practitioner Controlled Prescription Program (CPP) pads will now also be preprinted with the NP identifiers, address, phone number and prescriber ID.
Collaborating with our partners
This work wouldn’t have been possible without our collaboration with the College of Pharmacists of BC, and our other partners including the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, the BC Centre on Substance Use, and the BC Ministry of Health.
These partners have helped ensure NPs in BC are held to the same high standards as other prescribers and will be supported to practice safely and competently. The College is proud to be part of a responsive and collaborative community of experts working together to address challenges such as the opioid overdose crisis within our province.
A note on methadone maintenance
Please note that, for the time being, NPs prescribing methadone maintenance will be using prescription pads that were designated for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (with “CPS ID”), until a new template is created by the Ministry of Health with a generic “college ID.” As with the CPP pads, the NP identifier will be preprinted on the methadone prescription form.
I thank you in advance for your support as NPs begin this important work, and invite you to visit our website for all the information:
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or require more information. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cynthia Johansen is the Registrar/CEO of the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. (CRNBC). She is committed to developing collaborative and productive relationships through working closely with registrants, other nursing organizations, other regulators, and government to ensure the public is protected through the effective regulation of registered nurses and nurse practitioners.
CRNBC is working with the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of B.C. and the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of B.C. to co-create a new nursing regulator for B.C. that will regulate all nurses in the province.