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Government changes will eventually lead to RN prescribing
On May 17, 2017, the Ontario government approved changes to the Nursing Act to permit RNs to prescribe medication according to a list, and to communicate a diagnosis for the purpose of prescribing medication.
Although the government has approved changes, RNs do not have the authority to perform either of these activities until the College makes regulations under the Nursing Act.
Diagnosing and prescribing are high-risk activities; the College is accountable for providing proper regulatory oversight that protects the public’s right to safe nursing care. We will be working on ensuring there are regulatory mechanisms in place to promote safe nursing practice. We will define the scope of this new authority for RN practice and develop regulations that will implement this change safely, while supporting the government’s goal of improving public access to medication.
As part of our work, we will consult with a broad range of stakeholders. As well, Council will review the evidence and feedback to make decisions about:
- the new RN scope of practice and how it fits, in the context of other nursing roles (such as NPs)
- practice requirements, including the drugs that RNs are authorized to prescribe
- requirements RNs must meet before gaining access to the new controlled acts (such as education)
- requirements for maintaining ongoing competence through the College’s Quality Assurance program
- professional liability protection, and more.