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Council approves RN prescribing education and standards for safe practice

On Dec. 6, 2023, the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) Council approved RN prescribing education programs and a new Registered Nurse (RN) Prescribing practice standard to support the safe implementation of RN prescribing in Ontario. These initiatives are designed to ensure that only those who are qualified, educated and competent can prescribe the medications set in regulation and communicate a diagnosis associated with prescribing those medications.

After completing the program review process, Council approved four RN prescribing education programs. “The approval of these programs supports the safe implementation of RN prescribing, which is upheld by a robust body of research,” says Katie Dilworth, Manager of Education. “The programs also meet additional requirements, including a coordinated approach to safe clinical placements and full integration of the RN prescribing competencies.” 

Registered Nurses who complete approved RN prescribing education will have a notation posted on CNO’s public Register, Find a Nurse to verify they are authorized to prescribe. 

To support safe nursing practice, CNO also developed a new standard of practice. The new Registered Nurse (RN) Prescribing practice standard outlines the legislated scope of practice for RNs who have gained the authority to prescribe. In addition, updates to existing standards, such as Scope of Practice, Medication and Nurse Practitioner, were completed to align with the changes in regulation. 

“The practice standard focuses on the expectations of nurses to prescribe safely, effectively and ethically. The standard is based on the principles of authority, competence and safety,” says Catriona Mill, Manager of Practice Quality. 

CNO continues its work collaborating with employers and other system partners to ensure that RN prescribing is implemented safely and to develop additional resources nurses need to apply it in practice.

Visit RN Prescribing Practice for more information on this expanded scope.


Page last reviewed December 06, 2023