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Journey to RN prescribing

Currently, RNs do not have the authority to prescribe medications. We are working toward enabling this change in RNs' scope of practice.

The College is your primary source for timely and accurate information about RN prescribing. To avoid confusion and learn the facts, visit this page first. We will update it often as the project progresses. Also, watch for future opportunities to provide feedback when we consult with nurses and other stakeholders.

On May 17, 2017, the Ontario government approved changes to the Nursing Act that will permit RNs to prescribe medication according to a list, and to communicate a diagnosis for the purpose of prescribing medication.

This is only the first step towards an expanded scope of practice for RNs. RNs do not have the authority to perform either of these activities until the College makes regulations under the Nursing Act.

On June 28, 2017, the College received a letter from Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, directing us to start the work necessary to enable RN prescribing.

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 have started the work needed to ensure there are regulatory mechanisms in place to promote safe nursing practice. 

In the coming months, there will be opportunities for a broad range of stakeholders to participate in consultation and provide feedback to the College on a range of topics related to RN prescribing. We will inform you about these opportunities through our website, The Standard and Facebook

We will ensure that the public and other stakeholders know, among other things:

  • how to identify an RN who is authorized to prescribe medication
  • what to expect from an RN prescriber, including which client populations they treat and which medications they prescribe
  • where to go if they have concerns about an RN prescriber
  • how an RN prescriber differs from other nursing roles

Council will discuss RN prescribing at each of its future meetings and will review evidence and feedback from consultations. You can read Council briefing materials and minutes on our Council page.

Additional resources
Page last reviewed April 05, 2019