Community prescribing takes off in Midland programme

August 29, 2022

Thank you for the article by Kathy Stodart in July, highlighting the positive impact of nurse prescribing, and the registered nurse prescriber in community health role (RNPCH).

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As co-developers and representatives of the RNPCH programme run by the Midland Collaborative (which has 13 partner organisations), we celebrate the increasing number of regions taking the step to gain Nursing Council approval to deliver this vital programme for our primary and community RNs.

This letter expands on the information in the Kaitiaki article about the Midland Collaborative programme. Ours was the first RNPCH regional recertification training programme to be approved by the Nursing Council. Our first programme started in November 2020, following the successful Family Planning and Counties Manukau DHB pilot.

Our RNPCH recertification training programme is delivered completely online in the evenings over seven weeks. It was intentionally developed using appropriate cultural frameworks, and is accessible to all partner organisations’ nurses across the Midland region. Wider inclusion of other Midland community providers to enable access to the training programme for their nurses, via a letter of agreement, is ongoing.

Three programmes  have been completed since 2020, with the fourth having started in August this year. This latest intake has 66 enrolled participants.

Cumulative participant numbers for the three intakes to date is 164, with 62 nurses recertified as RNPCH thus far (the August 2021 programme is still in progress).  These RNPCH are working in the Midland region, delivering equitable and accessible care for relatively healthy people who are presenting with minor illnesses.

We acknowledge the hard work and commitment from all our former and current  participants, considering the three intakes were taking the course through the COVID-19 pandemic. Timeframes for completion of the programme had to be extended under pandemic conditions, and some participants had to withdraw for personal and professional reasons.

If your region is considering developing a training programme, we encourage you to do so.

The Midland Collaborative partner organisations are: Former DHBs Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Tairāwhiti, Taranaki and Waikato; and PHOs: Eastern Bay of Plenty Health Alliance, Western Bay of Plenty, Nga Mataapuna Oranga, Rotorua Area Primary Health Services, Hauraki, National Hauora Coalition, Pinnacle Midlands Health Network and Ngati Porou Hauora.

Lin Marriott and Philippa Jones,

on behalf of Midland Collaborative developers and facilitators