Medicines management for nurses: explaining legal governance
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Medicines management for nurses: explaining legal governance

Bernadette Rae Associate professor and module lead, non-medical prescribing, London South Bank University, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To refresh your knowledge of the classification and assigned schedules of controlled drugs

  • To understand the legal framework that underpins the prescribing of medicines

  • To be aware of the areas that need to be considered when prescribing controlled drugs

There are multiple acts of law and case law that govern UK prescribing practice. This article examines three important topics for nurses: the classification and prescribing of controlled drugs, including the meaning of medicine classes and schedules; the prescribing of unlicensed medicines, including the difference between unlicensed and off-license medicines; and negligence in prescribing practice. The article outlines the acts of law that are relevant to each topic and provides examples of significant case law or other legal rulings to demonstrate how the law is relevant to nurses’ clinical practice.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2024.e12177

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Rae B (2024) Medicines management for nurses: explaining legal governance. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2024.e12177

Published online: 08 January 2024

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