This page is intended for registered nurses (RNs) and registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs) who are registered in the POATSP education and training pathway to prescribe opioid agonist treatment (OAT) medications.

For physicians or nurse practitioners, information about the education and training pathway is here.

As part of the provincial response to the overdose crisis, new temporary regulatory exceptions permit an expanded scope of practice for RNs and RPNs to prescribe specific medications to manage or ameliorate the effects of substance use, including oral OAT medications. Registered nurse and registered psychiatric nurse prescribing of OAT medications is being implemented using a phased approach.

As of November 2021, the scope of practice includes buprenorphine/naloxone and limited methadone and slow-release oral morphine prescribing. Adjustments to the scope of practice may be made in the future, based on evaluation findings.

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Formal authorization from your regional health lead is required

For RNs and RPNs taking the education and training pathway to prescribe OAT medications, a formal authorization from the RNs or RPNs’ regional health lead is required.

If you have not yet received authorization from your regional health lead and are interested in seeking it, contact the relevant health authority:

The education and training pathway

There are three components to the education and training pathway for prescribing OAT medications (POATSP: Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses online course, workbook, preceptorship).

1. Provincial Opioid Addiction Treatment Support Program: Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses online course

The POATSP: Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses (POATSP: RNs and RPNs) online course consists of 30 modules based on the provincial guideline for opioid use disorder, A Guideline for the Clinical Management of Opioid Use Disorder, to provide education on the key elements of opioid use disorder care. Developed by the BCCSU and the University of British Columbia’s Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD).



2. Workbook

The workbook contains case scenarios and questions to apply learnings from the POATSP: RNs and RPNs online course.

3. In-person preceptorship

The preceptorship is in-person education with an experienced prescriber. During the preceptorship, the completed workbook will be reviewed. It is an opportunity to apply the learnings from the POATSP: RNs and RPNs online course and workbook in clinical practice.

The education and training pathway is tailored according to the OAT medication(s) the RN or RPN is authorized to prescribe:

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Further information about the education and training pathway, according to OAT medication(s):

Note: The minimum recommended time for preceptorships is above; however, there may be circumstances where additional learning time and preceptorship days are required. Preceptors and RNs/RPNs can collaboratively determine whether the duration of the preceptorship is sufficient or should be extended in order ensure each RN/RPN has the necessary time to develop their knowledge, skills, and key competencies.

The education and training pathway: Step-by-step guide

  1. Obtain formal authorization from your regional health lead
  2. Complete the required modules in the POATSP: RNs and RPNs online course
  3. Obtain a Certificate of Completion in the online platform
  4. Contact the BCCSU ([email protected]) to obtain:
    • The Registered Nurse and Registered Psychiatric Nurse Prescribing Workbook
    • Information to schedule a preceptorship
      • Note that this is with a preceptor approved by the BCCSU
  5. Schedule a preceptorship
  6. Complete the Registered Nurse and Registered Psychiatric Nurse Prescribing Workbook either on paper or electronically
    • Reminder: The workbook will only be made available to RNs/RPNs who have formal authorization from their regional health lead to take the education and training pathway to prescribe OAT medications and have sent a POATSP: RNs and RPNs Certificate of Completion to the BCCSU
  7. Bring the completed workbook to the preceptorship
  8. Attend the in-person preceptorship
    • Note that RNs and RPNs must have completed the POATSP: RNs and RPNs online course within 3 months of attending a preceptorship
      • This is to ensure that RNs and RPNs have an adequate working memory of the extensive content covered in this course before applying this practice in person
    • Reminder: Preceptors and RNs/RPNs can collaboratively determine whether the duration of the preceptorship is sufficient or should be extended in order ensure each RN/RPN has the necessary time to develop their knowledge, skills, and key competencies
  9. Complete any additional learning at the discretion of the preceptor
  10. Sign the Safe Prescribing Agreement (found in the workbook) with the preceptor
  11. Complete the online Preceptorship Form (found in the workbook)
    • The Preceptorship Form is an online form to report that the preceptorship has been completed

 

Once these steps above are completed, the preceptor will need to:

  • Complete the Preceptor Review Evaluation (sent to the preceptor via email) and submit to the BCCSU
After the education and training pathway has been completed
  • The BCCSU will issue a Proof of Completion letter, which is sent via email to both:
    • The RN or RPN learner and
    • The British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM)
  • The BCCNM will then send a declaration form to be completed by the RN or RPN learner
  • Upon receipt, the BCCNM will assign and send a Prescriber ID to the RN or RPN learner
  • The BCCNM will also provide instructions to:
    • Access PharmaNet with help from employer
    • Apply to Medical Services Plan (MSP) to obtain an MSP number
    • Order a Controlled Drugs and Substances prescription pad
Copyright © 2021, BC Centre on Substance Use

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E: [email protected] | T: (778) 945-7616 | F: (604) 428-5183

24/7 Addiction Clinician Support Line: (778) 945-7619

Online Addiction Medicine Diploma: [email protected].