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NMBI Standards for Nurses and Midwives on Medication Administration


In 2013, a joint collaboration between NMBI and the HSE (OMNSD) was set up to commence work on updating and renewing the Guidance to Nurses and Midwifes on Medicines Management (2007). The work entailed extensive research, public consultation and drafting. The new version titled Medicines Management Standards for Nurses and Midwives (2015) was developed and has been in draft format since 2015. As part of the consultation process, advice from various stakeholders and legal representatives was sought. However, following a review NMBI needed to consider their role in interpreting legislation and providing guidance in respect of a common task in health care settings.

Furthermore, a recent audit of professional nursing and midwifery regulators in developed countries demonstrated that numerous countries do not provide standards and guidance on medicines management such as Australia, Canada New Zealand and more recently the Nursing and Midwifery Council in the UK.  The College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia do however provide guidance for nurses on the administration of medicines which is brief and focused. The New Zealand Midwifery Council focuses on competence of midwives to administer medicines and with emphasis vaccine administration.

After reflecting on the previous advice from stakeholders, legal experts, current regulatory practices and both the NMBI’s Ethics and Education and Training Committees, NMBI developed draft standards for nurses and midwives on medication administration in 2018. Medication administration is one component of medication management.
NMBI’s decision to draft standards for registered nurses and midwives on medication administration were based on the following:

  • The regulators independence in developing standards need to be recognised

  • NMBI needs to develop standards that then can guide as opposed to dictate local policy

  • As a professional regulator, NMBI’s focus is on regulating the conduct and practice of nurses and midwife registrants

  • Medicines management requires a multidisciplinary approach. The role of NMBI does not extend to providing an interpretation of other regulatory guidance

  • A standards based approach was recognised as NMBI’s strategic preference.

Current situation

The practice standards used for medication administration are based on the five principles of the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives (NMBI 2014). The practice standards are intended to:

  • Affirm the conduct expected from the nurse or midwife in medication administration

  • Support, guide and signpost the registered nurse or midwife on best practice when administering medication

  • Be used in conjunction with the relevant legislation, Health and Information Quality Authority (HIQA) guidance, standards and audits on medicines management and health care provider’s policies, procedures, protocols and guidelines (PPPGs).

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