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​The new scope of practice prescribing standard, limits, and conditions set foundational requirements for current and future prescribing by BCCNM-certified practice (CP) nurses.

What will I learn?​

  • What the requirements are to be able to prescribe.
  • What standards appl​​y when CP nurses prescribe.​



The prescribing standard applies when Opioid Use Disorder CP nurses prescribe a medication to be dispensed by a pharmacist to an individual client.  

The prescribing nurse assumes full responsibility and accountability when issuing the prescription. Risk to the client is reduced when at least two health professionals are involved to ensure the appropriateness of the medication for the client and assess any risks.

CP nurses who prescribe comply with all BCCNM standards, limits, or conditions applicable to the situation, including:

    • Acting Within Autonomous Scope of Practice standard
  • Scope of practice: Prescribing standard
  • Medication practice standard
  • Consent practice standard​​​

Presc​ribing require​ments

Before prescribing, CP nurses:

  • Successfully complete BCCNM-approved education and training. 
  • Enroll with the Medical Services Plan (see MSP enrolment).
  • Apply to BCCNM for prescribing authority.
  • Obtain a BCCNM-assigned prescriber number.
  • Be recognized by their workplace as a prescriber.
  • Are ​​familiar with their responsibilities under the Controlled Prescription Program (for OUD certified practice area).​

Prescribing for opioid use ​d​​isorder (OUD)

CP nurses prescribing for OUD must be recognized by their organization as a nurse prescriber. They also follow workplace policies, which may vary from one workplace to another.

OUD CP nurses follow the BC Centre on Substance Use's (BCCSU) Guideline for the Clinical Management of Opioid Use Disorder when treating clients. CP nurse prescribers are permitted to prescribe buprenorphine-naloxone, methadone, and slow-release oral morphine as well as some adjunct medications for symptom management (as per BCCSU guidelines and their workplace policies).

OUD CP nurses do not prescribe for safer supply (prescribe medications as a safer alternative to the toxic illegal drug supply).

Consulting and referring​​​

OUD CP nurses refer to BCCNM's resource Certified practice prescribing for OUD – Consulting and referring when consulting with or referring to other health professionals when prescribing for OUD.​


​What's the difference between prescribing and giving a client-specific order?

Prescribing and giving a client-specific order are two separate and distinct activities. They are not the same thing.

Prescribing: A nurse prescribes when they issue a prescription for a pharmacist to dispense a specified medication for use by a designated person. Currently only OUD certified practice nurses are authorized to prescribe. General practice nurses and CP nurses who do not have the OUD CP designation are not authorized to prescribe.

Giving a client-specific order: A nurse gives a client-specific order when they issue an instruction or authorization, not a prescription, for another regulated health professional to carry out restricted or non-restricted activities for a client.

Giving a client-specific order may include giving instruction for a medication-related activity­—compounding, dispensing, or administering, but not prescribing—to be acted on by a regulated health professional, not a pharmacist. Nurses can only give client-specific orders for Schedule II drugs.

Nurses only give client-specific orders when they meet the requirements for acting within autonomous scope of practice.

The key difference between prescribing and giving a client-specific order is that prescribing involves giving the client a prescription that must be filled by a pharmacist. Giving client-specific orders does not involve prescribing or the giving of a prescription.​​​


​External resourc​​es

​​Need help or support?​

For further guidance on understanding and applying the standards of practice, contact our team by completing the Standards Support intake form.​

900 – 200 Granville St
Vancouver, BC  V6C 1S4

​Toll-free 1.866.880.7101 (within Canada only) ​

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