Rural and Isolated Practice Registered Nurses play an important role as part of a clinical team to improve access to urgent and primary care for Victorian rural communities.

The Department of Health and Human Services is seeking feedback regarding proposed regulatory amendments to support the continuing medicines practice of the Rural Isolated Practice Registered Nurse (RIPRN) role in Victoria.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) will soon be discontinuing the Registration standard for endorsement for scheduled medicines for registered nurses (rural and isolated practice). To enable RIPRNs to continue their medicines practice in Victoria, regulatory amendments to the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017 are required.

You are invited to respond to the questions below to inform these regulatory amendments. This includes determining the criteria that specifies the scope and any other education, experience and clinical setting requirements needed to assure professional competence of an approved registered nurse for safe medicines practice in specified circumstances; and, to inform future opportunities for registered nurses and midwives, with the appropriate capacity and capability, to undertake expanded roles that could improve safe and appropriate access to medicines in certain settings and circumstances.

The consultation will close on Monday 3 August 2020 at 4.00 pm.

About the consultation process

A Secretary Approval will specify the criteria to define the scope of medicines practice of an approved registered nurse including any associated education, training, experience and/or other requirements necessary to assure professional competence to obtain and possess specified scheduled medicines for administration, sale or supply to protocol.

The definition may specify any or all of these criteria:

  • the completion of a training course or other education; or
  • the acquisition of a qualification; or
  • the length of time for which the registered nurse has practised; or
  • the location in which the registered nurse practises.

The department has developed possible options for these criteria for consideration by interested parties – these are specified on pages 15-16 of the consultation paper.

It is anticipated that the final definition in the Secretary Approval to determine the minimum requirements to assure competence will be an appropriate combination of these criteria.

Consultation questions

Question 1 - Relating to Secretary Approval criterion: Education and training (see pages 15-16 of consultation paper)

  • a. the completion of a training course or education qualification
  • b. the acquisition of a qualification

1a) A number of options have been proposed to ensure an ‘approved registered nurse’ in the RIPRN role has the appropriate knowledge, skills and attributes for safe and appropriate practice to obtain and possess specified scheduled medicines for administration, sale or supply according to protocol.

1a - Please indicate your preferred option:

Question 2 - Relating to Secretary Approval criterion: Length and type of experience (see page 17 of consultation paper)

  • c. the length of time for which the registered nurse has practiced

It is proposed the criteria will state an approved registered nurse must have minimum experience of two years at a minimum of 0.42 full time equivalent (i.e. two days a week), working as a registered nurse (within the past three years), with at least:

  • one year working in a rural or rural isolated practice setting; and/ or,
  • one year working in an emergency department, urgent care centre or equivalent setting.

These requirements may be undertaken concurrently.

To be classified as an approved registered nurse, it is expected the individual registered nurse and the health service employer would maintain appropriate records as evidence of the requirements.

2a) Do the proposed criteria ensure an ‘approved registered nurse’ (RIPRN) has the appropriate length & type of experience for safe & appropriate practice to obtain & possess specified scheduled medicines for administration, sale or supply to protocol?

Question 3 - Relating to Secretary Approval criterion: Clinical setting (see page 17 of consultation paper)

  • d. the location in which the registered nurse practices

The accredited health services where approved registered nurses can practice will continue to specify the current list of 46 rural urgent care centres, 21 rural health services and five Bush Nursing Hospitals. From 2020, Victoria’s 14 of 15 Bush Nursing Centres will be added to the list where they have attained appropriate National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards accreditation.

3a) Are there any unintended consequences of the proposed clinical settings that would disadvantage Victorians’ access to timely healthcare through the RIPRN role?

Question 4a - Relating toFuture focused models of care’ (see pages 18-19 of consultation paper)

Are there any potential unintended consequences of amending the DPCS Regulations to enable future opportunities for approved registered nurses and approved registered midwives to obtain and possess specified scheduled medicines for administration, sale or supply to protocol in the lawful practice of their profession?

See above - question 4a)

The survey form is now closed. Thanks for your contributions.

Collection Notice

The Department of Health and Human Services (the department) is committed to protecting your privacy. The department collects and handles personal information in this consultation for the purposes of asking consultation participants to answer survey questions and/or provide written submissions about the consultation. All submissions are voluntary and you are free not to submit some or all of the information we ask for.

When you make your submission you can choose to provide your name and contact details (but you do not need to do so, and can make an anonymous submission). The department may use these details to identify your submission and discuss it with you. All submissions may be subject to Freedom of Information and other laws.

The department will not publish your contact details. Those details will only be used for this consultation. The department will take reasonable steps to remove personally identifying information from submissions before it publishes any of their contents, and the department will always remove contact information such as email or address details before publishing any part of a submission.

For more information on the department's privacy collection, please refer to the department's privacy policy, available on our website at

You may access your information that you provide to the department, but this will not be possible if your submission is anonymous. The department can be contacted on 1300 650 172 or you may contact the department's FOI unit at