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Nurse Practitioners - Pharmacology and Prescribing Conference

  • : Melbourne VIC 3000


There are now more than 1,400 nurse practitioners Australia-wide. As prescribers, it is necessary to ensure currency of knowledge in regard to correct prescribing and the appropriate use of medicines. Attend this conference and learn about:

  • The latest evidence, and changes to recommendations in relation to commonly prescribed medicines, including antidepressants, statins, immunisations and opioids
  • Prescribing in challenging situations, including neonatal and paediatrics, sexual health and chronic disease
  • Refreshers on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics
  • A panel session comprised of Nurse Practitioners and Pharmacists
  • Vitamin deficiencies, when to treat, and what to treat
  • An update on allergy and anaphylaxis in children with IgE-mediated
  • “Closing the Gap” and how you can participate
  • Breakout rooms and essential networking opportunities with colleagues from across Australia

Attend this conference, which is specifically designed to improve your patient outcomes.

Schedule Day One



Welcome and Introduction



Immunisation in Australia and the International Picture

While Immunisation rates in Australia are quite high, there is certainly a committed approach to improving immunisation rates in children. In addition to our current immunisation schedule, it is essential to have a good knowledge of other immunisations that may be important, or essential for some patient groups. This introductory session considers:

  • A rapid overview of our current schedule
  • Disease rates internationally – what should or could be added to the Australian schedule in the near future?
  • Additional immunisations for ‘at risk’ patients, and associated considerations
  • What’s happening with Meningococcal?
  • Influenza – the ongoing battle to improve immunisation rates


Robyn Saunders

Statins - Practical Prescribing for Therapeutic Outcomes

Statins are one of our most commonly prescribed medicines. They are widely recognised as contributors to large risk reductions relating to cardiovascular disease. Nevertheless, questions still occasionally arise about their effectiveness, particularly in low-risk populations and the optimal management of adverse effects. This session will aim to answer some of these questions prescribes may have by briefly overviewing statins and discussing practical prescribing for best outcomes. Includes:

  • Common statins - why, when and how to consider prescribing them
  • Potential side effects and red flag interactions
  • Managing myalgia - cease, reduce or change?
  • Deprescribing - when is it recommended and what to monitor
  • Evidence to navigate common dilemmas across the ages



Kathy Tori

Utilising Evidence to Support Prescribing Decisions

The sheer amount of new evidence relating to medicines today can make it difficult for prescribers to adequately stay informed. Given the significance of the therapeutic decisions that must be made routinely, being able to easily access credible sources is imperative. Practically applying evidence need not be challenging. This session will look at a range of resources that can complement your clinical expertise and patient preferences so you are well positioned to maximise pharmacotherapeutic outcomes. Includes:

  • Finding and appraising credible sources of information - where to look and how to assess
  • When time is at a premium - overcoming obstacles
  • How to practically integrate best available evidence, patient preferences, and your clinical expertise into your prescribing practice


Leanne Boase, Dr Jenny Gowan and Kathy Tori

Panel Session: Common Prescribing Issues for Nurse Practitioners - Now and in the Future

This next session is your opportunity to discuss common prescribing issues for Nurse Practitioners with an experienced panel. Topics may include challenges you currently experience or anticipate to experience in the future and are not limited to, but include:

  • PBS access, regulations, limitations and rules
  • Resources for prescribing
  • Effecting changes to the PBS
  • Access to prescribing education



BREAKOUT ROOMS (select one from the three below) Breakout Room One - Mental Health

Dr Jenny Gowan

Antidepressants - How to Make Therapeutic Prescribing Decisions

Antidepressant medicines are one of our most commonly prescribed medicines. However, these medicines can have profound side effects and are particularly potent to certain vulnerable groups of the population such as older adults. This session will highlight the issues surrounding prescribing of anti-depressants. Moreover, it will demonstrate how to overcome these issues to achieve safe and effective pharmacotherapeutic outcomes. Includes:

  • Assessment and initiation of common anti-depressants
  • Monitoring for wanted and unwanted effects including serotonin syndrome
  • Interactions with over-the-counter medicines
  • How to address issues of acceptance and adherence
  • Deprescribing anti-depressants or changing treatment
  • Because medicines are not enough - evidence on psychotherapy, nutrition and other adjunctive therapies
Breakout Room Two - Pharmacology

Associate Prof Louis Roller

Pharmacodynamics – A Refresher

If you are considering becoming a prescriber, new to prescribing, or even experienced but wanting a refresher, this session is for you. Pharmacodynamics related to how a medicine affects a person, or the mechanism or action forms the basis of key knowledge and skills relating to pharmacotherapeutics. Without this knowledge, we are vulnerable to misunderstandings of how and why we are treating a person with a medicine. This session ties basic principles of pharmacodynamics to four conditions every Nurse Practitioner is familiar with. Includes:

  • A rapid overview of pharmacodynamics
  • Key examples and prescribing considerations in relation to:
    • Drugs acting by chemical reaction
    • Drugs acting on enzymes
    • Drugs acting on receptors
    • Drugs acting by physical action
    • Affinity, specificity, potency and efficacy
Breakout Room Three - Paediatrics


Neonatal and Paediatric Nurse Practitioner Prescribing

Prescribing for neonates and children is not as simple as using the same mg/kg calculation as for adults. In this session, discussion will focus on:

  • Challenges with size, body surface area to weight ratio
  • Immature metabolism and how to manage this safely when prescribing
  • Altered drug disposition, including gastrointestinal and intramuscular absorption
  • Hepatic metabolism and renal excretion



Dr Jenny Gowan

Prescribing for Pain During An Opioid Crisis

Opioids such as morphine, codeine, and oxycodone are increasingly becoming a cause for concern in the Australian community. Often, these concerns centre on the addictive nature of the medicines and their potential for harm including the risk of overdose. In the setting of this crisis, prescribers must be well informed about the pharmacotherapeutic actions and correct uses of these medicines. This session will demonstrate how evidence-based prescribing of opioid-based analgesic agents is still possible during an opioid crisis by looking through the lens of two common scenarios - acute pain and chronic pain. Includes:

  • Case scenario one: Acute Pain
    • Advanced pathophysiology - what is occurring?
    • Evidence-based treatment - what works?
    • Interactions, contraindications - what to avoid and why?
    • Special prescribing considerations - dose titration, novel therapies etc.
    • Case scenario two: Chronic Pain
  • Advanced pathophysiology - what is occurring?
  • Evidence-based treatment - what works?
  • Interactions, contraindications - what to avoid and why?
  • Special prescribing considerations - dose titration, novel therapies etc.


Day Two



Dr Jenny Gowan

Chronic Disease Management - A Rational Prescribing Approach

Chronic disease, and often multiple chronic diseases, can present complicated challenges when prescribing. In this session, case studies will be presented in order to highlight these key challenges, involving patients with multiple chronic diseases. The focus of this discussion will be on how you can apply rational prescribing approaches to avoid interactions. Includes:

  • The person with COPD and...
  • The person with diabetes and...
  • The person with cardiovascular disease and...


Leanne Boase

Medication Reconciliation – Beyond the Medication List

Nurse practitioners that look beyond the medication list and develop a true understanding of what their patient is actually taking, and how they use their medicines are well placed to reduce risk and improve safety. Nurse Practitioner led medication reconciliations create an opportunity to significantly improve health outcomes by reducing discrepancies that often occur as a patient moves between healthcare services. This session will consider:

  • Why focus on medication reconciliation?
  • How do you effectively perform a medication reconciliation?
  • Why each reconciliation is an opportunity for deprescribing and prevention of adverse events
  • Case examples that highlight how consequences of medication errors can be prevented



BREAKOUT ROOMS (select one from the three below) Breakout Room One - Professional Issues

Associate Professor Louis Roller

Pharmacokinetics – A Refresher

Pharmacokinetics refers to how the body affects the medicine, and how it moves through the body. This rapid refresher will ensure you can relate your prescribing practice to the following key concepts:

  • The ADE (absorption, distribution and excretion) curve - implications of the therapeutic range
  • Bioavailability - how it affects medicine quality, including use of generic medications
  • How therapeutic medicine monitoring is used
  • Protein binding and distribution
  • Hepatic metabolic elimination and reabsorption considerations
  • Medicine elimination and reabsorption
  • Multiple dose regimes - peak and trough levels, loading dose and steady state considerations
  • Pharmacokinetic medicine-medicine interactions
Breakout Room Two - Nutritional Supplements

Dr Jenny Gowan

The Truth About Vitamins, Minerals, and Other Topical Issues - Current Evidence

Vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements are used for a wide range of reasons, not just for the management of deficiencies. Despite their widespread, information surrounding their actual, evidenced-based efficacy is often insufficient. This session will update you on the evidence for correct indications for the following vitamins and minerals and key prescribing considerations such as toxicity and interactions. Includes:

  • Can some medicines cause nutritional deficiencies?
  • What are the benefits of fish oil?
  • When is Vitamin D indicated?
  • Topical issues - are zinc, magnesium, calcium , glucosamine, Vitamin B12, curcumin for arthritis and CoQ beneficial in disease management and for wellbeing?
  • What does the evidence suggest?
  • How do you know what is a reliable product?
  • Where are sources available for reliable information?
Breakout Room Three - Immunology

Rebecca Gibson

Avoiding Anaphylaxis in Children with IgE-Mediated Food Allergies

Anaphylaxis is a life threatening emergency, and can occur unexpectedly and is a severe consequence of an IgE-mediated food allergy. This session includes an update on the latest information on allergy in Australia including the management of anaphylaxis. Includes:

  • Main differences between IgE and non-IgE mediated food allergies including common allergens
  • Blood tests and skin pricks - how IgE-mediated allergies are diagnosed
  • Desensitisation and food challenges in children
  • An update on the management of anaphylaxis
  • A guide to recent changes to auto-injectors



BREAKOUT ROOMS (select one from the three below) Breakout Room One - Professional Issues

Suzanne Wallis

Closing the Gap - The Role of Nurse Practitioners

Nurse Practitioners can play a key role in improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living with, or who are at risk of, a chronic disease. This session explains how Closing the Gap (CTG) prescriptions can improve access to those eligible. It will offer an opportunity to clarify common questions you may have, such as:

  • What is Closing The Gap (CTG)?
  • Can NP’s write CTG prescriptions?
  • How to identify who’s eligible for
  • How CTG prescribing sits within the larger CTG framework
  • Strategies to prevent cultural blindness in the health setting
Breakout Room Two - Sexual Health

Leah Ward

Sexual Health – Prescribing for Prevalent and not So Prevalent Diseases

Nurse Practitioners working in a range of specialities will encounter patients with concerns about sexually transmitted infections. While education often focuses on prevalent conditions, equally important is a focus on conditions that are re-emerging or becoming resistant to treatment. This session will bring you up to date on key considerations relating to the prescribing and administering of medicines used in sexually transmitted infections. Includes:

  • A look at The 2016 Australian Annual Surveillance Report - Key findings
  • Updates on testing, prescribing and monitoring of Chlamydia, Syphilis and Mycoplasma Genitalium and Gonorrhoea
  • HIV prevention - PEP and PreP, including where these treatments can be obtained
  • Current treatment protocols - application to practice, with a focus on the PBS
  • Emerging trends of resistance to treatment
Breakout Room Three - Rheumatology

Linda Bradbury

Biologic Agents - Clinical and Prescribing Considerations

Biologic agents are now being used more frequently for the treatment of autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and multiple sclerosis. While Nurse Practitioners are currently not able to prescribe these medicines, there is a need to understand the clinical and prescribing considerations associated with these medicines. What do Nurse Practitioners need to know if their patient has a concurrent rheumatological or autoimmune condition?

  • What are biologic agents?
  • Why are these agents used?
  • What are common side effects?
  • Prescribing considerations when a patient is receiving or has received biologics
  • Clinical considerations due to changes to a person’s immune system



Kathy Tori and Leanne Boase

Leadership and the Art of Effecting Change

As the Nurse Practitioners continue to expand in numbers, evolve in scope of practice and strengthen as a profession, opportunities are a plenty for affecting and influencing the healthcare landscape. You, as empowered individuals are key to effecting large scale change to policy and legislation. This final session will consider how great leaders transform challenges and limitations into opportunities. Includes how leadership can:

  • Change policy and legislation
  • Help overcome scope of practice limitations to prescribing


The Goal Need for Program

Nurse Practitioners are authorised to prescribe a wide range of medicines. As a professional group, it is challenging to access quality education that addresses their needs in relation to latest updates and the myriad of changes to the evidence base, refreshing basic prescribing knowledge, and gaining new knowledge to support their individual scope of practice. Nurse Practitioners are also required to access 10 hours of advanced practice education, including prescribing, each year. The sheer amount of new evidence relating to medicines today can make it difficult for all prescribers to adequately stay informed. Therapeutic decisions must be based on advanced assessment and, evaluation of the patient circumstances, consideration of concurrent therapies, and should also maximize opportunities for deprescribing. Prescribing demands high level knowledge and skills relating to pharmacotherapeutic action including potential adverse and other side effects, drug interactions, compliance and evaluation.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this program is to increase your advanced practice knowledge regarding prescribing and administration of medicines.

Your learning outcomes:

Clinical decision making relating to prescribing medicines will reflect the latest evidence

Adverse effects of medicines including unwanted side effects will be prevented, identified and reduced

Patients in your care will experience the highest level of health care, and the best possible outcomes

Medicines will be prescribed and care delivered within the Australian legal framework


Leanne Boase

Leanne Boase

Leanne Boase is a Nurse Practitioner with a background in critical care and paediatrics, she currently practices across four GP ...Read More

Robyn Saunders

Robyn Saunders

Robyn Saunders graduated with a bachelor of pharmacy degree from the Victorian College of Pharmacy (now Monash University). She has ... Read More

Kathy Tori

Kathy Tori

Kathleen Tori is currently employed as the Post Graduate Courses Coordinator for La Trobe University Rural Health School (Bendigo). She ... Read More

Jenny Gowan

Jenny Gowan

Jenny, a practicing pharmacist, is a teaching associate at Monash University, Melbourne. She is a member of the PSA Branch ... Read More

Louis Roller

Louis Roller

Associate Professor Louis Roller, PhC, BPharm, BSc, MSc, PhD, DipEd, FPS, FACPP has been an academic at the Faculty of ... Read More

Rebecca Gibson

Rebecca Gibson

Rebecca Gibson is a Nurse Unit Manager/Paediatric Allergy Nurse Practitioner​​ at Epworth Allergy Specialists. ... Read More

Suzanne Wallis

Suzanne Wallis

Suzanne Wallis is a Sexual Health Nurse Practitioner at Goulburn Valley Health, Shepparton and The Women’s, Melbourne. She is an ... Read More

Leah Ward

Leah Ward

Leah Ward has recently been endorsed as a Nurse Practitioner. She is currently working as an Advanced Sexual Health Nurse. ... Read More

Linda Bradbury

Linda Bradbury

Linda Bradbury is a Rheumatology Nurse Practitioner. Linda completed her general nurse training in London. After working in general medicine, ... Read More

To Be Determined

To Be Determined


Nurse Practitioners - Pharmacology and Prescribing Conference
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11 hours
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11 hours
Melbourne VIC 3000
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