Nurse Practitioners can prescribe medication in all 50 states.
However, the degree of independence with which they can do so and which classification of drugs they can legally prescribe varies from state to state.
In Illinois, someone who is licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) as an advanced practice nurse (APN) has the authority to prescribe medications to their patients without a doctor’s oversight.
Advanced practice nurses include titles such as:
A nurse holding one of these credentials has a broad scope of practice and can independently prescribe drugs listed as Schedule 3 or above.
Let’s look at some limitations on when nurse practitioners can write prescriptions, some exceptions, and how you can get help.
IDFPR limits an APN’s ability to prescribe some Schedule 3 drugs, requiring, in some cases, delegated authority from a supervising physician.
What is more, for a nurse practitioner prescribe medication to be able to prescribe or administer Schedule 2 drugs in Illinois, even acting under a physician’s orders, they must:
By comparison, registered nurses are not allowed to prescribe medications independently. For registered nurses, a physician order is always required to prescribe controlled substances.
While an RN is often asked to prepare patient medical histories, record symptoms, monitor patient recovery, and assist with medical treatments, RNs are not allowed to diagnose patients, write treatment plans, or prescribe medications.
There are a few exceptions that allow nurses of all types to act more independently.
In an emergency, an RN may be permitted to administer certain medications by his or her employer. Outside of work, nurses can also administer medications and are typically protected from liability under the Good Samaritan laws on the books in every state.
Today, an increasing number of healthcare facilities have implemented standing orders for nurses, which allows them to provide certain medications to patients without a direct order from a physician. These orders must be precise, they should detail what nurses can do under certain circumstances with a particular type of patient.
With these standing orders, healthcare facilities are giving their nurses more leeway in prescribing medications while still protecting them from potential liability.
When it comes to your license, err on the side of caution.
If you are a nurse but not an APN, the best way to avoid the appearance of practicing without a proper license is to follow all rules and regulations and contact a professional licensing attorney if you have any concerns or questions.
The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not make a decision whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.
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