June 2018

RN prescribing survey: What we learned

We asked and you answered. More than 700 people responded to our survey about RN prescribing. We will use the feedback to help us develop practice standards and other supports to protect the public.

We received responses from nurses, associations, other regulators and the public in our online survey, which was available between April 30 and May 14, 2018. The survey included questions about:

  • future practice standards for RNs who prescribe

  • communicating information about the difference between RN prescribing and NP prescribing

  • proposed categories of medications RNs may be able to prescribe for non-complex conditions.

Most respondents (90 per cent) said the changes we proposed to our practice standards provided clear guidance about RNs’ accountabilities. Seventy-eight per cent felt the changes were needed to protect the public. Seventy-four per cent responded that the draft list of medications that RNs may be allowed to prescribe was appropriate.

Some stakeholders expressed concerns about the legal scope of practice for RN prescribing. The Ontario government set the requirement that RNs only prescribe medications (or “categories” of medications) that are named in a regulation. Stakeholders said they are concerned this will not be able to keep pace with changes in practice.

As well, they worry that RNs may not be able to diagnose health conditions and prescribe medication safely because they don’t have the authority to order lab or diagnostic tests, and perform point-of-care lab tests.

Earlier this month, we presented Council with a report about this consultation and the feedback we received. You can read the report on pages 108 – 130 of the June Council meeting materials.

What’s next?

We are now working on draft regulations to permit RNs to prescribe certain medications. We will publish a draft of the regulations in the September issue of The Standard and circulate the regulations for 60 days. Council will review your feedback and consider approving the regulations at its December meeting. Regulations that Council approves do not take effect until government also reviews, approves and passes them.

Keep informed! Watch for updates in The Standard and visit our Journey to RN Prescribing page.

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