Updated May 2022
Download a PDF copy of this Fact sheet: Enrolled nurse and medicine administration (223 KB,PDF)
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) undertakes functions as set by the Health
Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law). The NMBA regulates the practice of nursing and midwifery in Australia, and one of its key roles is to protect the public. The NMBA does this by developing registration standards, professional codes, guidelines and standards for practice which together establish the requirements of the professional practice framework for the professional and safe practice of nurses and midwives in Australia.
Enrolled nurses (ENs) are able to administer medicines if they have completed medication administration education at some stage in their career. An EN is able to administer medicines unless they have a notation on their registration which advises that they have not completed medicines administration education.
The following questions answer common queries about ENs and medicines administration.
ENs who can administer medicines do not have a notation on their registration. This means they have successfully completed EN medicines administration education. This education may have been completed before or after the introduction of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (National Scheme).
ENs who cannot administer medicines have the notation ‘Does not hold Board-approved qualification in administration of medicines’ on their registration, which is available on the national register of practitioners (the public register).
ENs with the notation ‘May only practice in the area of mothercraft nursing’ on their registration are also unable to administer medicines. Additionally, they cannot enrol in any EN medicines administration education.
It is expected that all ENs who do not have a notation have successfully completed EN medicines administration education and have the competence and confidence to administer medicines safely, regardless of when the initial education occurred.
In order to have the notation removed, an EN must have successfully completed medicines administration education at some stage in their career.
ENs who have not previously completed medicines administration education
ENs wishing to remove the notation must complete the unit of study Administer and Monitor Medicines and Intravenous Therapy HLTENN040 (previous course code HLTENN007) which is provided within an NMBA-approved Diploma of Nursing.
Education providers who offer an NMBA-approved Diploma of Nursing are published under the Approved programs of study section on the NMBA website. ENs should contact the education provider regarding any questions relating to eligibility for recognition of prior learning.
ENs who have previously completed medicines administration education
If you have successfully completed the current or previous medicines administration education (outlined below) and wish to have the notation removed you need to complete an Application for removal of notation form APRN-40.
Previous medicines administration education
Prior to the release of the current Diploma of Nursing (HLT54112) in April 2021, removal of the notation required the successful completion of two units (if delivered within an NMBA-approved Diploma of Nursing) as follows:
Note: Prior to the commencement of the National Scheme, ENs may have successfully completed medicines administration education other than the units listed above. These ENs can administer medicines if they do not have a notation on their registration.
ENs with a notation cannot administer medicines, including intravenous medicines.
ENs without a notation can only administer intravenous (IV) medicines if they have completed intravenous medicines administration education.
An EN who does not have a notation on their registration and, has not completed education in IV medicines administration, can expand their scope of practice to include intravenous medicines administration by undertaking further relevant education. ENs should use the NMBA’s Decision-making framework for nursing and midwifery to ensure that they are competent and confident in their proposed expanded scope of practice.
Employers must ensure that they are satisfied that employees are educated, competent and confident for any nursing activity they undertake.
Employers and ENs should ensure that the EN is familiar with the state and territory drugs and poisons legislation, and relevant health department and health service policy requirements as well as relevant workplace policies, procedures and protocols.