Updated guide offers vital back-up for practitioners

Standards take in new prescribing powers and offer practitioners essential
double-check advice

New standards on administering medicines have been announced, marking the
first update since 1992.

The UKCC has made amendments to accommodate the introduction of prescribing
by nurses and health visitors.

The guide, sent to all registered nurses, also includes advice on misuse of
drugs, and on side-effects of prescription drugs. It stresses the importance of
always following a written protocol.

Recent limited prescription powers apply principally to district nurses, but
OH nurses often administer medication under agreement.

OH specialist consultant Cynthia Atwell said that the guidance is
particularly important for OH nurses, as they often have to work alone.
"If a doctor has written a prescription you do not always take it for
granted – sometimes doctors make errors," she said.

"Nurses need to look at it and if it does not sound quite right they
must use their professional judgement."

She said the new guidance is essential. "My recommendation is: it should
be read and inwardly digested."

The guide also addresses professional conduct. Sue Norman, registrar of the
UKCC, said, "The UKCC’s professional conduct committee takes great care to
distinguish between the practitioner who makes a simple error and admits it
immediately, and those who try to cover up a mistake or blame it on

Guidelines for the Administration of Medicines, UKCC, 020-7637 7181


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