No, registered nurses cannot write prescriptions, however nurse practitioners can.
A nurse practitioner is an (APRN) advanced practiced registered nurse who has acquired either their MSN (masters of science in nursing) or DNP (doctorate of nursing practice) degree and specializes in a particular field of healthcare such as geriatrics, pediatrics and neonatal nursing.
In addition to writing prescriptions nurse practitioners are also able to diagnose diseases, provide patients with treatment plans, act as the primary health care provider for their patients and work more independently in their profession than registered nurses can.
Registered nurses are tasked with recording the symptoms of their patients and the patients medical history, monitoring their recovery, identifying injuries or illnesses the patient is dealing with, handling any medications that the patient may need, assisting with medical treatments, helping patients who are going through rehabilitation programs and work with other medical specialists so that the patient can be given the best care and medical assistance possible.
Please keep in mind that while registered nurses are able to record the patients symptoms, administer medications and assist with treatments they are not able to diagnose the patients symptoms, write prescriptions or create treatment plans for the patients, they are there to act as an aid in the recovery process and ensure the patient receives the medical care and attention they need.
Other health care specialists that are authorized to write prescriptions include advanced practice nurses, dentists, medical practitioners, optometrists and veterinarians.
In contrast to written prescription drugs over-the-counter (OTC) drugs do not legally require a written prescription to be purchased at a local drug store or pharmacy, however some over-the-counter drugs may only be purchased after the pharmacist has assessed the condition of the individual and feels that the drug would benefit that individual in recovering from their ailments and/or symptoms.