KAWARTHA LAKES-The Ontario government says it is expanding the role of registered nurses to prescribe medications, after meeting specific requirements, for certain conditions such as contraception, immunizations, smoking cessation, and topical wound care in a variety of settings close to home, including long-term care homes and retirement homes.
“Our government continues to take action to ensure Ontarians have faster and easier access to the care they need, when they need it,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “By making changes to allow qualified registered nurses to provide more care and administer the medications they prescribe, people will have more convenient access to safe care close to home, while helping to further reduce wait times at our community clinics and hospitals.”
Starting in January 2024, registration is expected to open for registered nurses interested in completing the additional education requirements to work more independently in their community settings. As more registered nurses complete the training, more people will have faster access to birth control, drugs for smoking cessation, and travel medications to treat and prevent malaria and traveller’s diarrhea. People will also be able to receive topical wound care and get their vaccinations such as the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccines prescribed from a registered nurse.
“We are collaborating with health system partners and creating the standards that promote safe nursing practice,” said Silvie Crawford, Executive Director and CEO of the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO). “This includes ensuring changes in nurses’ scope of practice, including RN prescribing, are implemented safely for all Ontarians.”
The educational training programs that will be offered at certain colleges and universities are being developed and require approval from the Council of the College of Nurses of Ontario. This will ensure registered nurses can acquire the knowledge, skill and judgement needed to conveniently prescribe and administer more medications.