Debate over “right to write” heats up.

Nurses want to be able to write prescriptions and the House subcommittee looking at the issue could vote on a measure next week. The Medical Association of Georgia is opposed and are running radio ads to voice their opposition.  The radio ads in my view are a over the top.  As they talk of the dangers of letting people who “haven’t been to medical school” write prescriptions, a fast food order taker asks “would you like a prescription with that?”  Now, maybe giving nurses this authority is not a good idea, but to compare them with fast food order takers is not fair.

What about this?  Did anyone else hear this radio ad?  Is it a good idea to give Nurses the “right to write?”


  1. Booray says:

    For professional reasons, I follow doctor issues. There are bills that relate to prescribing that go far beyond just nurses writing prescriptions (psychologists, optometrists, others). Don’t limit this just to nurse practitioners.

  2. GAWire says:

    fyi to everyone – it isn’t an issue to give nurses the right to write Rx – it is for nurse practitioners who are certified in this area to write Rx for limited kinds of meds. and, did you know that ga is the only state that doesn’t allow NP’s some Rx writing ability?

  3. Brian from Ellijay says:

    Looking at our Congressional Delegation–2 Doctors, 2 Dentists and an Architect (im not sure what Deal does), They owe a lot to the Doctor Pacs. We knwo which way they vote.

  4. macongop says:

    I just heard this ad on the radio here in Macon. It caught me off guard hearing the ad. Nurses being compared to fast food workers was putting a bad spin on this issue and not telling the whole truth I think. I’d like to find out more about the bill that is up in Atlanta.(Erik)

  5. Brian from Ellijay says:

    Wire, I said this to the tune that Congressmen do influence how the general assembly votes. Look back to last year. The maps (that the general assembly passed) were written by the Congressmen. While the Franklin maps were pushed out the door.

  6. Melb says:

    Physicians assistants (2 year education) are allowed to write prescriptions for Doctors, but nurse practitioners (6 years education) are not allowed to write them? This is not right. Nurse Practitioners take courses on prescriptions, pills, have to know which medications don’t work together, and everything else that a doctor has to know about medications. And the fact that every state in the nation except Georgia allows this just shows how far behind we are.

  7. HeartofGa says:

    The answer is no, no, no and no. I respect nurses, but there is a reason there are different levels of training for the two professions. Melb, can’t nurse practitioners can write now, provided they have physician oversight? In the interest of quality patient care, this is as far as we should go. Any by the way, the same goes for psychologists- they should not write either, though they would like to.

  8. Melb says:

    psychologist have much different training than nurse practitioners, but that is besides the point. Nurse practitioners have the experience and have the education to write prescriptions, the only thing that is reducing their quality is the fact that they have to get a doctor’s permission. If every other state in the Union does it, I hardly doubt it has decreased the care given.

  9. memberg says:

    Medical doctors do not have a “monopoly.” And even so, the it’s the general public that grants doctors the privileges of limited entry into the profession and the right to self-regulate.

    Does anyone really think that it’s about money? Specialist doctors won’t be affected, and the doctors in the trenches (public health clinics, etc.) will be glad that they can spend time with serious patients instead of telling someone they have chlamydia.

    If anyone knows, how much of a “right to write” are we talking here? If it’s just for basic stuff like penicillin and orthotricyclene, I’m all for it. But if it’s for any prescription, I’m patently against it.

  10. Bill Simon says:

    “Basic stuff,” Memberg, can have devastating effects if they are prescribed for people who turnout to have a severe allergic reaction to the substance.

    And, yes, there ARE people who are allergic to penicillin and orthotricyclene.

  11. GetReal says:

    At least we know that Rush is willing to allowing the airing of ads on his show even if he disagrees with their content. Presumably he favors expanding as much as possible the number of people allowed to write prescriptions.

  12. Booray says:


    It appears we agree on something. I am glad!

    These non-doctor groups are risking patient safety. Modern medicine is increasingly about better, more sophisticated drugs that can treat things once requiring more invasive treatment – or even untreatable. It takes a full medical education – and ongoing medical training – to understand the drugs that are is out there and properly use them.

    And as a person who lives in the medical world every day, it is also very odd to see the legislature consider lowering the standards for healthcare in this area when the internal direction of medicine is strongly towards higher standards and better care.

    Allowing nurse practitioners to write down a prescription they already call in – at a doctor’s orders – is one thing. Allowing other people (like psychologists, chiropractors, optometrists, maybe others) to prescribe without input from a doctor is a dangerous thing that makes little sense to anyone with a medical education who is not beholden to one of these interests.

    Booray Bussey

  13. memberg says:


    Don’t crucify my point because of what you consider to be bad examples of “basic stuff.” I think it was pretty clear that my point is that there is a difference between giving someone penicillin when they test positive for a strep test and some sort of experimental beta-blocker for non-Hodgkins lymphoma (the “good” Hodgkins).

    That aside, I know that some people are allergic to penicillin. I couldn’t name someone who doesn’t.

    But I know something else…doctors generally expect people to know if they are allergic to penicillin…AND THEY TAKE THEIR WORD FOR IT. In fact, they probably dispense with that question on a new patient questionnaire.

    Feel free to read up on penicillin here:

  14. Harry says:


    It’s past time for Georgia to make basic medical care more convenient
    and help control costs by allowing nurse practitioners to write
    prescriptions for patients with minor illnesses and chronic conditions,
    says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC).


    o Georgia is the only state that forbids nurses with advanced
    practice degrees from writing a prescription
    without first getting permission from a physician.

    o Removing that antiquated restriction on specially certified
    nurses would make providing basic care in
    underserved rural areas much easier.

    o It would also cut down on waiting times and free doctors to
    tackle more difficult cases during peak cold and
    flu seasons, when patients flood clinics with cases of
    bronchitis, sinusitis and other common conditions.

    When the state medical licensing board determined that physicians
    need not be present at clinics, it inadvertently kicked open the door
    for allowing nurse practitioners to write prescriptions, explains the

    o A for-profit firm, MinuteClinic, set up shop inside several
    metro Atlanta locations of a major drugstore
    chain; the clinics offer basic medical care using advanced
    practice nurses.

    o At MinuteClinic, and similar walk-in clinics operated by
    hospitals and nonprofit agencies, the nurses work
    under very detailed protocols with collaborative physicians
    about what drugs can be prescribed for patients showing
    specific symptoms.

    o Both of the measures under consideration in the General
    Assembly still require nurses to work under some form
    of physician supervision — a protocol arrangement, a
    doctor on site or available by phone — before they would
    be allowed to sign a prescription form.

    It makes sense to formalize an arrangement that is already working
    in 49 other states and has started to work in Georgia as well, says the

    Source: Editorial, “Extend prescription privileges,” Atlanta
    Journal-Constitution, January 30, 2006.

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