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Dispensing Medications Practice Standard Revised

CRNBC has revised its Dispensing Medications Practice Standard, which identifies the principles nurses (includes RNs, nurse practitioners and licensed graduate nurses) adhere to when they need to dispense medications to their clients. The changes make the practice standard more accurate and enable certified practice to proceed.


While some health authorities have developed dispensing logs, not all have. Therefore the phrase “including developing dispensing logs” has been added to the end of the second paragraph to clarify the employer’s responsibility regarding organization supports for safe dispensing by nurses.

Principle 1

Deleted: “a pharmacist is not available”

Nurses may identify some clients who would be unwilling or unable to access a pharmacist. Nurses in certified practice are not able to prescribe and therefore there is no basis for the pharmacist to dispense.

Principle 3(a)

Deleted: “(or envelope)”

Envelopes are not a safe way to package drugs for dispensing.

Principle 3

Added: “(f) Nurses enter information about the medications they dispense into their agency’s dispensing log for quality assurance/risk management purposes.”

Until registered nurses and nurse practitioners are able to enter data into Pharmanet, a central tracking system, such as a dispensing log, is necessary for quality assurance and risk management purposes.

Principle 4 - NEW

Added: “Nurses can accept payment on behalf of their employer for a medication they dispense.”

This statement is based on the definition of dispense in the Nurses (Registered) and Nurse Practitioners Regulation and helps distinguish between nurse and pharmacist dispensing.

View the Dispensing Medications Practice Standard

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