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Health Minister announces plans to change laws to allow RN prescribing

On Feb. 23, 2017, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Eric Hoskins, announced that he will introduce changes to the Nursing Act this spring. If passed, these changes would expand Registered Nurses’ (RNs) scope of practice to include communicating diagnoses and prescribing medication for their clients. 

When the Nursing Act is changed, the College will work closely with government to create regulations for this change to nursing scope of practice.  

Prescribing medications is a high risk activity and it is the College’s role to ensure RNs have the knowledge, skill and judgment to practice this activity safely. In addition to consulting with nurses, employers, the public and other stakeholders, work to prepare for this may include:

  • identifying the competencies and education RNs will need to safely communicate diagnoses and prescribe medication
  • setting practice standards for safe RN practice
  • determining the requirements for maintaining ongoing competence through the College’s Quality Assurance program

It is important to note that Ontario RNs do not currently have the authority to communicate diagnoses or prescribe medication. Only after the College’s regulations are approved by the Ontario government will it become legal for RNs to independently perform these activities.   

We look forward to working with the Ministry, nurses, employers, the public and other stakeholders on this anticipated change to scope of practice for RNs. 

Watch our website, Facebook page and The Standard for regular updates as this work develops. 

Page last reviewed February 23, 2017