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Journey to RN prescribing
Currently, RNs do not have the authority to prescribe medications. The College has started the work needed to enable 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.
- The Standard, Feb 2017 - Health Minister announces plans to allow RN prescribing
- The Standard, May 2017 - On the road to RN prescribing
- CNO to start work on RN prescribing
- Letter from Minister Hoskins