What is it about?

Many countries now have national mental health policies and guidelines to decrease or eliminate the use of seclusion and restraint yet the use of Pro Re Nata (PRN) medications has received less practice evaluation. This research aimed to identify mental health nurses’ attitudes towards the use of PRN medications with mental health consumers.

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Why is it important?

Qualitative findings highlighted the need for increased accountability for the prescribing and administration of PRN medications along with more nursing education/training to use alternative first line interventions. Nurses administering PRN medications should be vigilant regarding the indications for this practice to ensure they are facilitating the consumer’s recovery by reducing the use of all forms of potentially restrictive practices in the hospital setting.


The reasons for using PRN medications and PRN administration rates must be continually monitored to avoid practices such as high dose antipsychotics use and antipsychotic polypharmacy to ensure the efficacy of the consumers’ management plans on their health care outcomes.

Dr Lesley Barr
Curtin University

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This page is a summary of: Nurses' attitudes towards the use of PRN psychotropic medications in acute and forensic mental health settings, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, March 2017, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/inm.12306.
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