Virginia

Virginia Board of Nursing


The authorization for the administration of medication is found in The Drug Control Act portion of Virginia law. In section 54.1-3408(B) of the Code of Virginia, it says “the prescriber may administer drugs or devices, or he may cause them to be administered by a nurse, physician assistant, intern.” The law does not specify registered nurse or practical nurse. The law also does not specify or limit routes of medication administration, such as intravenously. The full statute is accessible from our website: www.dhp.virginia.gov (choose Board of Nursing , then Law and Regulations; then Drug Laws for Practitioners.)

Additionally, there is a relevant provision in the Medical Practice Act portion of the law. See section 54.1-2901(A)(4) which indicates the governing laws “shall not prevent or prohibit….any registered professional nurse, licensed nurse practitioner, graduate laboratory technician or other technical personnel who have been properly trained from rendering care or services within the scope of their usual professional activities which shall include the taking of blood, the giving of intravenous infusion and intravenous injections, and the insertion of tubes when perform under the orders of a person licensed to practice medicine.” While LPNs are not specifically mentioned, a L.P.N. could be considered “other technical personnel who have been properly trained,” if indeed that has occurred.

For further information, please see the Virginia Board of Nursing’s Decision-Making Model which was adopted as a Guidance Document to assist R.N.s and L.P.N.s in determining scope of practice questions such as this one. It is Guidance Document # 90-23, which is also available from our website: www.dhp.virginia.gov ; (choose Board of Nursing , then click on Guidance Documents). It suggests that if the nurse (R.N. or L.P.N.) has the education, knowledge, skills, and demonstrated competency in the activity being considered, the facility has established policies and procedures covering the proposed activity, and it is something typically done in other similar circumstances by L.P.Ns and/or R.N.s, then it may be within the scope of practice for that individual nurse.

However, please be aware of Guidance Document #90-6 in regard to Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters. You will note the Board contemplates that only RNs may insert and remove PICC lines under appropriate circumstances.
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