Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Patients the big winners of McGuinty government's policy to expand Nurse Practitioners' role and scope


TORONTO, Aug. 29, 2011 – Regulations coming into effect on October 1st will allow nurse practitioners (NP) to deliver more timely care to Ontario patients.

“We are thrilled that nurse practitioners will be able to prescribe more medications and other treatments that Ontarians need,” says Doris Grinspun, executive director of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO), adding this will provide the public with faster access to quality health care. The move also complements the provincial government’s April announcement that NPs are able to admit and discharge hospital patients.

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with additional education and legislative authority, who since 1998 can diagnose and treat common illnesses and injuries and order diagnostic tests for their patients such as x-rays and ultrasounds. The new regulations expand the authority of NPs to carry out additional care acts and treatment procedures such as setting or casting bone fractures and open prescribing of medications.

“NPs are central to tackling the challenges facing our health-care system such as improving access to care and reducing wait times. These changes send a clear signal that there is more NPs can do to better help patients and make our health system more responsive and cost effective,” says David McNeil, president of RNAO.

“These expanded powers give us the authority to deliver the care we are educated for,” says Michelle Acorn, president of the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO). “NPs have the knowledge, judgment and skills to competently and safely care for Ontarians. This is another step towards the full utilization of NPs and will only strengthen interprofessional collaboration.”

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) 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.

The Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO) represents the professional interests of all nurse practitioners in Ontario. NPAO is an expert group of the RNAO. NPAO’s mission is to achieve full integration of nurse practitioners to ensure accessible, high quality health care for Ontarians.

For more information about RNAO, visit our website at You can also check out our Facebook page at and follow us on Twitter at


To arrange an interview, please contact:

Marion Zych
Director of Communications
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)
158 Pearl Street
Toronto, ON
647-406-5605 (cellular)
416-408-5605 (office)