Instructions to administer medicines

Before a health professional, such as a registered nurse, can give a dose of a prescription medicine (Schedule 4) or controlled drug (Schedule 8) to a patient, the prescriber must give the health professional a direction to administer the medicine. These rules apply to medicines administered to both humans and animals.

Prescribers direction

A prescriber’s direction can be given by:

  • making an entry in the patient’s clinical notes, signed by the prescriber, detailing the medicine name, strength and form (such as tablets, mixture or injection), route of administration and dose
  • making an entry on the patient’s medication chart and signing the entry
  • giving an instruction verbally, by telephone or by electronic means such as fax or email.

Verbal or electronic directions must be written up on the patient’s medication chart or in their clinical notes within 24 hours of the instruction being given.

For hospital inpatients, a medication chart must always be used rather than the patient’s clinical notes.

More information

Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch
Mailing address: PO Box 8172, Perth Business Centre, WA 6849
Phone: 9222 6883