Scopes of Practice
The scopes of practice describe the health services that form part of the profession of pharmacy. There are three scopes of practice - intern pharmacist, pharmacist, and pharmacist prescriber. To practise in any of these scopes in New Zealand you must be registered and hold an Annual Practising Certificate (APC).
If you are a New Zealand or Australian B.Pharm graduate
you must first register in the intern pharmacist scope and complete the requirements of the intern training programme before applying for registration as a pharmacist.
The intern pharmacist, practising under the supervision of a registered pharmacist, acts as a medicines manager, providing patient-centred medication therapy management, health improvement and disease prevention services in a collaborative environment. Intern pharmacists ensure safe and quality use of medicines and optimise health outcomes by contributing to patient assessment and to the selection, prescribing, monitoring and evaluation of medicine therapy.
The practice of pharmacy may include:
- preparing and dispensing medicines and pharmaceutical products;
- selecting and providing non-prescription medicine therapies and therapeutic aids;
- advising on health and well-being, including health screenings;
- researching and evaluating information and providing evidence-based advice and recommendations on medicines and medicine-related health issues.
To register for the pharmacist scope, an intern pharmacist must complete all registration requirements within two years. The components for this are the Intern Training Programme, the Written Examination, and the Assessment Centre. This period may be extended by one year in exceptional circumstances at the Pharmacy Council's discretion.
The practice of pharmacy is necessarily broad and is wider than pharmacists working directly with patients, given that such roles influence clinical practice and public safety. In a clinical role, the pharmacist acts as a medicines manager, providing patient-centred medication therapy management, health improvement and disease prevention services, usually in a collaborative environment. Pharmacists ensure safe and quality use of medicines and optimise health outcomes by contributing to patient assessment and the selection, prescribing, monitoring and evaluation of medicine therapy.
The practice of pharmacy may include but is not limited to:
- the custody, preparation and dispensing of medicines and pharmaceutical products;
- the selection and provision of non-prescription medicine therapies and therapeutic aids;
- provision of advice on health and well-being, including health screening;
- administration of medicines;
- medicines manager role, ensuring safe, quality use of medicines
- optimizing health outcomes;
- researching and evaluating information and providing evidence-based advice and recommendations on medicines and medicine-related health issues;
- teaching and advising;
- policy development;
If a pharmacist is practising in any of the services described in the scope they must have an Annual Practising Certificate (APC), and will be required to demonstrate they are maintaining competence in their areas of individual practice. The pharmacist will be able to demonstrate that they are maintaining their competence by participation in a continuing professional development (CPD) based recertification programme.
Pharmacists who are not practising or providing services described in the scope may remain registered on the non-practising register, but unless they have an APC they must agree not to practise.
To register in the Pharmacist Scope of Practice, an applicant must have the prerequisite qualifications in pharmacy, meet the Competence Standards for the Pharmacy Profession and the fitness to register requirements under the HPCA Act 2003.
If you are an applicant who obtained registration in Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, USA, or other countries, or you were previously registered in New Zealand and wish to be reinstated to the register, choose the appropriate link for more information as to how you can gain registration in New Zealand.
A pharmacist prescriber must first be registered in the pharmacist scope. Pharmacist prescribers have specialised clinical, pharmacological and pharmaceutical knowledge, skills and understanding relevant to their area of prescribing practice. This allows them to provide individualised medicines management services, including the prescribing of medicines to patients across a range of healthcare settings and models. Pharmacist prescribers work in a collaborative health team environment with other healthcare professionals and are not the primary diagnostician. They can write a prescription for a patient in their care to initiate or modify therapy (including discontinuation or maintenance of therapy originally initiated by another prescriber). They can also provide a wide range of assessment and treatment interventions which includes, but is not limited to:
- Ordering and interpreting investigation (including laboratory and related tests).
- Assessing and monitoring a patient's response to therapy.
- Providing education and advice to a patient on their medicine therapy.
The Pharmacist Prescriber must prescribe within the limits of their professional expertise and competence (both clinical and cultural) and ethical codes of practice. They are responsible and accountable for the care they provide.
Please see this page for further information on pharmacist prescribers