Newfoundland and Labrador are taking a major step forward in expanding the scope of practice for Registered Nurses (RNs). The province’s Ministry of Health and Community Services has announced amendments to regulations that will allow RNs to prescribe medications and order laboratory and diagnostic screening tests. The changes will also give RNs the ability to make referrals to specialists.
These amendments have been developed in consultation with the College of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador (CRNNL). The CRNNL has created a framework for prescribing and guidelines that will ensure RNs who are authorized to prescribe have completed additional prescribing education from an approved program and are competent to do so.
This change is significant because, prior to the amendments, RNs did not have the authority to prescribe medications or make referrals to specialists. The amendments will enable RNs to work to their full scope of practice, which is essential in addressing recruitment and retention challenges in healthcare.
The Supervised Practice Experience Partnership Program is another amendment that has been introduced. The purpose of this program is to provide an alternative, practice-based path to licensure for RN applicants who have not practiced enough hours to meet licensure requirements in the province. This allows for an additional pathway to supervised licensure for individuals who would currently be required to complete a Registered Nurse re-entry program, which would have cost up to $10,000 and taken up to 18 months. This additional pathway should lead to additional nursing professionals for the province.
The primary mandate of the CRNNL is to ensure that RNs provide ethical, safe, and competent care. With the introduction of Registered Nurse Prescribing, the CRNNL is confident that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will have broader access to the health services they need and deserve.
The amendments are expected to have a positive impact on the delivery of healthcare in the province. They will provide RNs with expanded roles and responsibilities that will help to improve patient care and health outcomes. This change also represents an important step forward in recognizing the critical role that RNs play in the healthcare system.
The amendments to the regulations are necessary, offering a progressive approach to the collaboration between the government, the CRNNL, and other stakeholders. These amendments will help address some of the challenges faced by healthcare providers in the province and ensure that RNs can work to their full potential. This change is significant and should be celebrated as a major step forward for healthcare in Newfoundland and Labrador.