RN or LPN Scope of Practice - the Dispensing of Medications in a Correctional Facility

December 2012

It was the advisory opinion of the Board:

  • Drugs dispensed by a pharmacy are dispensed to a physician
  • While correctional facilities must provide three (3) days of medication to inmates when released or transferred, a nurse could not take medication from stock, place it in an envelope, and label it with the patient’s name – this is considered dispensing. A physician could not delegate this to a nurse, since dispensing is not within the scope of practice of a nurse. Only a physician or pharmacist may dispense medication.

There is a concern regarding nurses administering medications that are not dispensed to a specific inmate. This would not be a recommended practice.​