Department of Health

Rural and isolated practice registered nurses

Key messages

  • On 1 February 2022, Victoria is changing its drugs and poisons regulatory scheme to safeguard the rural and isolated practice registered nurse model of care.
  • A new legal mechanism, called a Secretary Approval enables scheduled medicines practice, including conditions of practice such as experience, qualifications, location, type of medicines and clinical circumstances.
  • There is no change to the current practice of rural and isolated practice registered nurses who will continue to provide vital healthcare access to Victoria’s rural and isolated communities.

Rural and isolated practice registered nurses – endorsement transition arrangements

  • Victoria has updated the legislation to govern the practice of registered nurses who currently have a Scheduled Medicines (Rural and Isolated Practice) Endorsement (the RIP endorsement) on their registration from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA).
  • Following national consultation, the NMBA has indicated its intent to cease the endorsement of registered nurses who complete special courses of study in rural and isolated scheduled medicines practice in 2022, and the related additional 10 hours of continuing professional development in scheduled medicines practice.

The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017 ( Link ) now includes a provision for the Secretary of the Department of Health to establish a new class of registered nurse – an approved registered nurse – according to specified criteria. In addition, the Secretary can approve registered nurses to obtain, possess, sell, supply or administer Schedule 2, 3, 4 and 8 poisons in certain conditions and according to health management protocols in the latest edition of Queensland’s Primary Clinical Care Manual (PCCM) Queensland Health. These authorising conditions are similar to existing circumstances, with additional conditions requiring evidence of professional experience and record keeping.

  • Please access the policy guidance 2021 and factsheets below for detailed information.
  • For authorising conditions and a list of approved health services, bush nursing centres and hospital sites please refer to the Medicines and poisons – Secretary approvals webpage. (Note: to be published on that website in February 2022).

Reviewed 24 December 2021


Contact details

Rural isolated practice registered nurse (RIPRN)

Rural isolated practice registered nurse (RIPRN)

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