Expanded role for RNs = greater access to care for patients
TORONTO, April 15, 2013 – People in Ontario stand to benefit from changes announced Friday (April 12) by Premier Kathleen Wynne that will expand the role of registered nurses (RN).
In her address to nurses attending the 88th Annual General Meeting of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO), Premier Wynne said she recognizes that nurses want their scope of practice to match their expertise. The changes include working with the College of Nurses of Ontario (the body that regulates the nursing profession in the province) to expand the scope of practice of nurses so they can dispense medication in specific circumstances (for example, when patients do not have quick access to a pharmacy), and to identify additional opportunities to expand their scope to include allowing RNs to prescribe certain medications and nurse practitioners (NP) prescribing controlled substances.
“We’re very pleased with this news,” said RNAO President Rhonda Seidman-Carlson, adding she understands the public’s frustration when they can’t get access to care in a timely way. “When all health professionals are able to work to their full and optimized scope of practice, patients will benefit and we will have a better and more efficient health system.” Seidman-Carlson pointed to other jurisdictions that are already ahead. “If RNs can diagnose common ailments such as an ear infection or a sore throat, and prescribe medications in UK, why not in Ontario?”
RNAO’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) echoed her colleague’s remarks. “RNAO is delighted with the announcement made by Premier Kathleen Wynne. It demonstrates the government's commitment to increasing timely access to quality care for the public, and recognizes the central role Ontario's nurses play in our health system. Maximizing and expanding the scope of practice of nurses is in keeping with RNAO's Primary Solutions to Primary Care report released last June,” said Dr. Doris Grinspun.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.