Just as with the recent expansion of the role of pharmacists, registered nurses (RN’s) will, as of June 2024, be permitted to prescribe certain medications in order to help Ontarians meet their healthcare needs.

“We are delighted with the government’s announcement. Granting this authority has been a top priority for RNAO and for nurses. Patients in various settings will benefit from this change,” says Dr. Claudette Holloway, president of RNAO. “The government has already granted pharmacists expanded scope and we have been waiting for RNs to be able to better meet the needs of the patients and clients we care for.”     

RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun says the news “is especially welcome as it helps build up the nursing profession, making it more attractive and more reflective of the knowledge and experience RNs have. We know RNs can unlock delays in the health system and the authority to prescribe is one more barrier that is being removed,” says Grinspun, noting “the association listed this as a recommendation to improve people’s access in care in numerous reports it has released over the years, including Primary Solutions for Primary Care in 2012. We have been waiting for this day since it was promised under the previous government.”

Medications Registered Nurses Will Be Able To Prescribe

ImmunizationAny vaccines for prevention of bacterial and viral disease.
Contraception Any hormonal contraceptives for systemic use (oral and injectable).
Any intravaginal contraceptives.

*Excludes intra-uterine devices/contraceptives and contraceptive implants
Travel healthFor Malaria prevention, any of the following:


For the prevention and/or treatment of traveller’s diarrhea, any of the following: 

Topical Wound CareA combination of all three medications for cracked nipple care:

-Betamethasone 0.1%
-Mupirocin 2% ointment
-Miconazole powder to a final concentration of 2% 

Metronidazole for topical use for symptom management of odorous wounds.

Any antibiotics for topical use.
Smoking Cessation-Bupropion hydrochloride
-Varenicline tartrate
AnestheticsAny anesthetics used topically for pain relief related to immunization and/or topical wound care.
Allergic reaction-Epinephrine for anaphylaxis
Over-the-Counter MedicationAny drug or substance that may lawfully be purchased or acquired without a prescription and is available for self-selection in a pharmacy. 
Source: College of Nurses of Ontario

RNs will undergo a course of study at selected colleges and universities beginning in January 2024.

Grinspun says the next step is for the government to make it a priority to integrate the educational requirement to prescribe into the basic four-year baccalaureate program so all RNs can prescribe beginning with those set to graduate in June 2024.

Given that over 5,000 RNs graduate with their BScN each year, this will further strengthen people’s access to care.

The Health Insider applauds this initiative to meet the healthcare needs of Ontarians.

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