Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


RN and NP scope of practice

The role of registered nurses (RN) and nurse practitioners (NP) continues to grow in Ontario, thanks in large part to the work of RNAO.

Imagine you are almost out of your medication. You call your primary care provider, who puts you in contact with an RN at the clinic. The RN is able to see you that evening. After performing an assessment, the RN writes you a prescription refill and sends you on your way.

It's the seamless, efficient vision for health care RNAO laid out in its 2012 Primary Solutions for Primary Care report, and it has now become reality in Ontario. After making an announcement at RNAO's 2017 Queen's Park Day, the Ontario government passed amendments to the Nursing Act enabling RNs to prescribe medications and communicate diagnoses.

Ontario NPs are also seeing their role evolve. Thanks to RNAO's advocacy, NPs can now diagnose and treat illnesses, set and cast bone fractures, admit and discharge hospital patients, and prescribe medications. The establishment of NP-led clinics and the removal of restrictions to the role have helped to pave the way for faster access to care. And in 2017, Ontario NPs were given the authority to prescribe controlled substances.

RNAO knows maximizing and enhancing the role of RNs and NPs will lead to improved patient outcomes, faster access to care, and a health-care system that is more responsive, effective and cost-efficient. That's why the association will continue its advocacy to ensure as many nurses as possible are working to their full scope, and patients benefit from their care.