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NPs ordering ultrasounds and X-rays

Changes to NPs’ scope of practice now give NPs the authority to order ultrasound and X-rays without restrictions. However, these changes do not include computerized tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans or nuclear medicine procedures.

Previously, NPs could only order ultrasound and X-rays based on lists under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 and the Healing Arts Radiation Protection Act respectively. The new authority eliminates these lists. 

We have received a number of inquiries related to these legislative changes. Our delay in communication comes as a result of the need for clarity on certain aspects of the new laws. We want to assure NPs that they have full authority to order these diagnostic tests. We have been working with government to understand their laws and we have been assured that the scope of practice changes have taken effect: NPs can order all ultrasounds and X-rays (except CTs).

When ordering tests, NPs are accountable to the expectations in the practice standards, including Decisions About Procedures and Authority and the Nurse Practitioner. NPs are expected to have the knowledge, skill and judgment to order appropriate tests, and communicate clinically significant results and their implications to clients. 

Visit our Nurse Practitioner section for more information about the changes related to NP ordering of ultrasounds and X-rays.


Page last reviewed June 22, 2018