EDMONTON, May 1, 2019 /CNW/ - Registered nurses in Alberta can now become authorized to prescribe medications and order diagnostic tests which previously required an order from a physician, pharmacist or nurse practitioner.
Effective May 1, this new prescribing authority gives Albertans better, timelier access to common medications such as antibiotics and vaccines, and diagnostic tests such as urinalysis, swabs or x-rays.
"This is an important milestone for not only registered nursing practice, but also Albertans," says Dennie Hycha, president of the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA). "These changes provide Albertans with access to medications and tests when they need them by maximizing the contributions of registered nurses, the largest group of health professionals working in our health system."
Not all registered nurses are authorized to prescribe and order tests. A registered nurse with clinical experience in a particular area will be required to complete additional education before being authorized to prescribe. There are also requirements for appropriate supports in the employment setting.
Unlike nurse practitioners who have broad prescribing ability for all medications appropriate to their stream of practice and competency, registered nurses may only prescribe previously identified medications and doses in a specific practice setting. If a client's symptoms do not meet previously identified criteria, registered nurses must refer the client to a nurse practitioner or physician. The registered nurse's practice permit will identify the clinical practice area where they are authorized to prescribe.
This new authority is the result of amendments to the Registered Nurses Profession Regulation under the Health Professions Act. Other amendments in the regulation provide more flexibility for CARNA as a regulator in areas such as continuing competence and licensure requirements. For example, supervision will now be required for new nursing graduates who have a provisional license until they successfully complete the entry-to-practice exam.
CARNA is the regulatory college and professional association for Alberta's more than 38,000 registered nurses including nurses in clinical care, education, research and administration as well as nurse practitioners. Our mandate is ensuring that RNs and NPs provide safe, ethical and excellent care to Albertans.
SOURCE College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta
For further information: Alan Clay, Director Communications, 780.454.6772, [email protected]