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CNO steps in to clarify students' prescribing powers


Chief Nursing Office Dame Christine Beasley has attempted to clarify the position of student midwives administering prescription-only drugs.

Midwives have long been able to administer certain drugs which are set out in law, but there has been confusion over student midwives’ ability to use these drugs.

Students potentially faced disciplinary action for administering drugs, leading to concerns the law blocked them from gaining experience in the safe use of medicines.

But in a letter to all strategic health authority directors of nursing at the end of last month Dame Christine said she had discussed the concerns with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency who were now exploring the options.

She said that in the meantime, the MHRA “advises that they would not consider taking enforcement action” against student midwives for administering the medicines listed in the law, as long as they were “under the direct supervision of a midwife” and it was not “in the public interest” to pursue action.

RCM education and research manager Sue Macdonald welcomed the clarification. She said: “This clarification will be useful both for student midwives, and for supervising midwives who know that they must directly supervise their students.”



Readers' comments (4)

  • Can I suggest you reword the title of this piece as it is misleading as neither midwives nor midwifery students prescribe medicines. As you later state Midwives administer a limited amount of medicines which are allowed under " midwives exemptions". Students within our locality have never been advised to administer medicines without this being under the direct supervision of a midwife.

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  • Latterlife Midwife

    Fully agree with Maggie - title must be changed immediately. The confusion over student midwives administering drugs needs clarification immediately, as well; especially since many student midwives are already registered nurses with years of experience in administering medications. If all student midwives work under the supervision of qualified midwives during direct patient contact, why is there then a problem when those patients require medication administration? That is how the student learns the proper process.

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  • This is 'prescribing'! from a limited list, just as general nurses can prescribe and give paracetamol without a doctors prescription. Your are still prescribing it i.e writing it down, administering then signing for it!

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  • Adam, you should not give any medicines without an appropriately authorised prescription.

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