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Nurse practitioners are autonomous prescribers

February 23, 2022
Pharmacy teams must enter a nurse practitioner’s prescriber information when creating a patient record.

This is a reminder that nurse practitioners (NPs) may prescribe drugs, including narcotics and controlled drugs such as methadone and suboxone. NPs are not required to apply for authorization to prescribe. Rather, they must complete education and preceptorship appropriate to the area of prescribing.

If a pharmacy team receives a prescription from an NP, a pharmacy team member can check the nurse practitioner prescriber list on the ACP website. If the prescriber is registered and does not have a condition on their practice permit restricting them from prescribing controlled drugs and substances, the pharmacist can dispense the medication. As always, pharmacists have a responsibility to assess the patient to determine the appropriateness of the proposed treatment and, when necessary, contact the prescriber and collaborate to clarify and resolve any issues.

It is important for pharmacy teams to enter accurate information into the patient record, including the prescriber of the medication. In some cases, pharmacy team members have entered a physician or other healthcare provider’s name into the patient record even though the prescription was written by an NP.

How might recording the wrong prescriber information impact a patient? Let’s say a patient is admitted to the emergency department and the attending physician wants to contact the prescriber about a medication, or a patient attends a new pharmacy and the pharmacist needs to contact the prescriber. If the wrong prescriber is listed, it may take a long time to identify and reach the correct one. This could delay care.

Moving forward, licensees should have a discussion with pharmacy team members to ensure that accurate information is recorded on the patient record.