RPNs and initiation

Nurses and nurse employers: A provincial order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act authorizes health care professionals, including nurses, to provide patient care services outside their regular scope of practice. It also enables hospitals to engage regulated health professionals from out of province. You can read the order here.

I am an RPN who has taken an advanced wound care course.  My employer wants me to write wound care orders for other nurses after I initiate care.  Can I do this?

No, RPNs cannot provide an order for another nurse to perform controlled acts they have initiated. Initiation regulations under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 allows RNs and RPNs to independently carry out controlled acts authorized to nursing in the absence of an authorizing mechanism such as a direct order. RPNs are authorized to initiate cleansing, soaking and dressing a wound.

CNO’s Decisions About Procedures and Authority practice standard outlines what to consider before deciding whether to initiate and/or perform procedures. 

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Page last reviewed June 07, 2022