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Government takes next step toward RN prescribing
On April 27, 2017, the Ontario government proposed a bill that would change the Nursing Act and allow RNs to communicate diagnoses and prescribe drugs for certain non-complex conditions.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care does not yet have a timeframe for when Bill 127 will be approved but has called it a priority for the government.
When the bill is passed, the College will work closely with government to create the regulations needed to change the RN scope of practice.
Prescribing medications is a high risk activity. To protect the public, in addition to consulting with nurses, employers, the public and other stakeholders, the College’s work to prepare for this change in practice scope may include:
- identifying the competencies and education RNs will need to safely communicate diagnoses and prescribe medication
- setting practice standards for safe RN practice
- determining the requirements for maintaining ongoing competence through the College’s Quality Assurance program
The College will use the findings to develop regulation changes that will ensure RNs have the knowledge, skill and judgment to diagnosis and prescribe safely. It is then that Council will review the proposed regulation and if accepted, it will be sent to government for final approval.
It is important to note that Ontario RNs do not currently have the authority to communicate diagnoses or prescribe medication. Only after the College’s regulations are approved by the Ontario government will it become legal for RNs to independently perform these activities.