Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Improving CNO communication for NPs

Expanding NPs’ authority to prescribe controlled substances is a positive change that improves access to health care for patients across the province.

The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) has been posting on their public register, Find a Nurse, the following wording when an NP does not have the authority to prescribe controlled substances: “Entitled to practice with restrictions”.

RNAO fully supports the principle of making information available to members of the public as to whether an individual NP has met the education requirement as defined in the regulation, however, the association is concerned that the current wording can easily be misinterpreted.

The inability of an NP to prescribe controlled substances is not a “restriction” because prescribing controlled substances is not a mandatory part of NP scope of practice. An NP who chooses not to include prescribing controlled substances as part of their practice should not be labeled with the negative and misleading connotation that “restriction” has, which suggests the NP has done something wrong or has been the recipient of disciplinary action from the CNO.

RNAO is pleased that CNO is considering alternative language and is proposing the following wording: “Entitled to practice. Authorized to prescribe controlled substances” as well as including messaging about the “optional” nature of narcotics prescribing because it is not a required mandatory standard for NP practice.

To learn more, please read our letter to CNO.

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