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Ontario’s registered nurses want the right to prescribe drugs

Nurses were told 10 years ago that they would be granted the privilege to write prescriptions but it has not yet happened 
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Ontario's registered nurses say they are pleased to see that Ontario pharmacists have been given the right to prescribe common prescription drugs.

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) wants that same privilege.

The RNAO said nurses were promised 10 years ago that the law would be changed to allow nurses to write drug prescriptions, but the change has not happened, said an RNAO news release. 

Former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne had announced at the RNAO's Annual General Meeting in 2013 that nurses would be allowed to write prescriptions. Over the course of six years, the Ontario College of Nurses finalized and forwarded to the government all necessary legislative and regulatory changes in March of 2019, said the RNAO,

The change did not happen, said Dr. Doris Grinspun, the CEO of RNAO.

"The time for the government to implement RN prescribing is long overdue," said Grinspun. 

She said she looks forward to the day when nurses will stand beside Ontario Premier Doug Ford to make the formal announcement allowing RNs to write prescriptions.

"Ontario is amongst the few jurisdictions without RN prescribing in Canada and that impacts the care Ontarians receive on a daily basis. Imagine what this would mean for a resident in long-term care who doesn't need to be transferred to an emergency department to treat a urinary tract infection," she said.

“RN prescribing, and expanded scopes for nurse practitioners (NP), in all nursing homes will prevent unnecessary transfers, enhance residents' quality of life, expedite treatment and save taxpayers' dollars." Grinspun added.

RNAO is the professional association representing more than 50,000 registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario.