The intent of this paper is to summarize the purpose and process for nurse practitioners (NPs) obtaining prescription privileges in the state of California. I also discuss what I see as the advantages and disadvantages of having a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) license to be able to prescribe controlled drugs in the same way as doctors, as well as why NPs should have these privileges.
The Board of Registered Nursing in the State of California, states that NPs are now regarded as prescribers. Their regulations note that: ” For the purpose of obtaining a DEA number for (ordering) Schedule II, III, IV, V the NP with a furnishing number is considered by the DEA to be a prescriber” (Department of Consumer Affairs, n.d.).
Furthermore, the Board stipulates that furnishing is classed as an assigned authority, therefore, it has to be carried out according to standard procedures which have been approved. To that end, when the NP carries out an examination of the patient, the supervision of a physician is mandatory: he or she has to be available, and if this is not possible in person, then the approval can be conducted over the telephone (Department of Consumer Affairs, n.d.).
I see both advantages and disadvantages of having a DEA license to be able to prescribe controlled drugs. From my perspective, the disadvantage is that it is often very difficult to seek a physician for approval as they are always so engaged with their work. Conversely, I think that it has immense advantages in that it can save physicians a great deal of time, thereby allowing them to focus on more important aspects of their work.
I believe that NPs should have these privileges because they spend many years studying to be able to reach this professional level. They also have vast experience in giving patients their medications, and following the associated disciplines.
- Department of Consumer Affairs, n.d. Board of Registered Nursing. “Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Nurse Practitioner Practice.” Retrieved from http://www.rn.ca.gov/pdfs/regulations/npr-i-25.pdf