Regulation changes authorize registered nurse prescribing

November 23, 2018

The amendments proclaimed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council today to the Registered Nurses Profession Regulation under the Health Professions Act authorize registered nurses to prescribe common medications and order diagnostic tests such as x-rays.

“This is not only a milestone for registered nursing practice in Alberta but an important step towards providing people with access to medications and tests when they need them,” says Dennie Hycha, president of the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA). “These changes can improve access to timely, cost-effective health care by maximizing the contributions of registered nurses who are the largest group of health professionals working in our health system.”

Not all registered nurses will be 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. The registered nurse’s practice permit will identify the clinical practice area where their prescribing and ordering of tests is authorized and can occur.

“Registered nurse prescribing and ordering tests will be introduced gradually, starting with three pilot sites within Alberta Health Services,” says Hycha. “The Indigenous Services Canada is also interested in implementing registered nurse prescribing in rural and remote regions of the province in order to improve access to care.”

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 provisional licenses until they successfully complete the entry-to-practice exam.

Media inquiries:
Margaret Ward-Jack, Chief Public Affairs Officer
780.453.0515 | Cell: 780.932.1376
[email protected]


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