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Exploring Improved Access to Care through Registered Nurse Prescribing in Nova Scotia

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25

Apr

2017

Exploring Improved Access to Care through Registered Nurse Prescribing in Nova Scotia

A joint message from Jocelyn Vine, VP Patient Care and Chief Nurse Executive, IWK and Tim Guest Vice-President, Integrated Health Services Program Care & Chief Nursing Officer, NSHA

The IWK Health Centre and Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) are leading the exploration of improved access to health care services for Nova Scotians by enabling registered nurses (RNs) with specialized education and skills to prescribe medications within their specific area of expertise, practice setting and patient population.

The roles and responsibilities of Canadian health care professionals are always evolving to meet the needs of patients. Several jurisdictions across Canada have implemented or are considering implementing some level of registered nurse (RN) prescribing. Recently, Nova Scotia pharmacists obtained authority to prescribe a limited number of medications in certain circumstances.

In other jurisdictions, RNs with specialized education and skills working within inter-professional teams prescribe medications to a defined population. This has been shown to provide safe and effective care, including improved access to care. RN prescribers complement the work of Physicians and Nurse Practitioners within inter-professional collaborative teams to improve access to care for patients and families.

The provincial Improving Access to Care: RN Prescribing Committee will take initial steps to explore the potential for RN prescribing in Nova Scotia, including engaging key stakeholders and identifying potential clinical areas, legislative and regulatory requirements and educational models.

This work is supported by the Provincial Nursing Network, whose members include practicing nurses, employers, educators, regulators, unions, and government.

The IWK and NSHA look forward to working closely with key provincial partners and stakeholders on this important initiative, as we strive to improve access to care for our patients and maximize the contributions of Registered Nurses within the NS health care system.

We will share regular updates as this work continues.

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