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Your Skill, Their Health Doing Medicines Right” - What's it all about?

An Bord Altranais and National Council partnered to create the Guide to Medication Management, an E-learning programme. The interactive programme is available on the organisations’ websites and is hosted on the Learning Centre of the HSE. The Guide composed of 6 units of study covers medication management and how it applies to nurses’ and midwives’ day to day practice.

Unit 1 Introduction
Unit 2 General Principles and Duties
Unit 3 Medication Management Cycle
Unit 4 Management of Controlled Drugs
Unit 5 Medication Safety
Unit 6 Medication Protocols

The last unit introduces the medication protocol framework which is introduced as an aid to develop best practice in devising and utilising medication protocols. Other features of the e-learning programme include a glossary, frequently asked questions and resources.

Orientation sessions about the Guide were conducted with the Centres of Nurse and Midwifery Education followed by national sessions during spring 2008. Among those targeted included nursing and midwifery individuals working in practice development, clinical placement and education to facilitate the dissemination of the Guide in their own organisations.

To access the programme a nurse or midwife must log on to and click on the medication management title under the e-learning zone on the right hand section of the home page. This will bring up the HSE Learning Centre where you must register as a user if you have not already done so. One does not need to be a HSE employee to access this website


Prescribing Update

The numbers of nurse prescribers in practice continue to rise. At the end of October 2008 there were 35 Registered Nurse Prescribers in the Nurse Prescribers Division of the Register of An Bord Altranais

Many nurses and midwives who have completed the education programme are in in the process of finalising their Collaborative Practice Agreements within their health service organisations. The structures and processes to implement prescriptive authority at local and national levels continue to advance across the health services. October 2008 saw the commencement of the fourth education programme by Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and University College Cork (UCC) with over 75 nurses and midwives enrolling from varied practice areas and health care services. An Bord Altranais remains active in providing guidance and advice to the individual practitioner and organisations about its regulatory framework.

Detailed informaion about the regulation of nurse prescribing including a frequently asked questions section and all An Bord Altranais documents pertaining to prescribing are available for downloading under the Publications section or they can be requested through An Bord Altranais library service.

The Project Implementation Team has focused its recent activities on An Bord Altranais evaluation work for its professional regulatory and guidance frameworks for the prescriptive authority. The team is supported by a multidisciplinary evaluation committee of key stakeholders with representation including An Bord Altranais, the National Council for the Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery, the Health Service Executive, the Medical Council, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, University College Cork and the Irish Society for Quality and Safety in Healthcare. The Evaluation Committee has met regularly over the past three months and its final meeting is scheduled for early December 2008.

The scope of the evaluation encompasses the regulation and professional elements of the An Bord Altranais guidance framework.

Consultation has taken place with nurses and midwives who have completed the education programme, directors of nursing and midwifery and prescribing site coordinators in health care sites where prescribing has been introduced. The Project Team would like to thank all the individuals who thus far have contributed to this phase of the evaluation. Preliminary findings will be reported to the Board shortly.

Site visits are an integral part of An Bord Altranais statutory responsibility for ensuring the requirements and standards for education programmes leading to registration are met by the education provider and linked healthcare provider. Site visits to RCSI, UCC and their associated clinical placement areas for the fourth cohort of students will be conducted early next year. This activity will form the remaining phase of the evaluation of the regulatory frameowrk for prescribing. The findings, along with phase one information, will be provided to the Board in a regulatory report planned for April 2009. It is anticipated that this evaluation work will contribute towards the independent evaluation commissioned by the Resource and Implementation Group due to commence next January.

Continued Competence

The Board's projects for the development of structures and processes to support and guide the Registered Nurse Prescriber in maintaining her/his competence is near completion. This work undertaken by the education staff, supported by a committee of key stakeholders, has explored the issues of continued competence requirements with Registered Nurse Prescribers, directors of nursing, patient groups, nursing unions and others. This research will be presented to the Board for review in the near future.

Further information about nurse and midwife prescribing and the Board's role is available from

Kathleen Walsh, Project Officer 01 6398502

Denise Carroll, Project Assistant 01 6398557

Other resources/links about nurse and midwife prescribing are:



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