After May 1, 2019, RNs who meet certain requirements will be able to prescribe common medications.
While NPs have a broad, autonomous authority to prescribe drugs and substances as defined in the Pharmacy and Drug Act, RN prescribing will be limited and intended to address a stable patient’s medication needs in a specific clinical practice area.
|Registered nurses||Nurse practitioners|
|What can they prescribe?|
Only specific medications and doses identified in a clinical support tool. RNs cannot prescribe controlled drugs and substances.
Broad, autonomous prescribing ability for all medications appropriate to their stream of practice and competency. NPs can prescribe controlled drugs and substances.
|Who can they prescribe for?||Only for clients identified within the clinical support tool. If symptoms do not meet certain criteria, the RN needs to refer the client to an NP or physician.||All clients within their stream of practice, including clients with comorbidities, complex health care needs, and unpredictable outcomes.|
|Where can they prescribe?|
Only in clinical areas where the employer has determined a unique client need for access to timely medications. Policies and a clinical support tool must be in place to clearly guide prescribing decisions.
The clinical practice area where the RNs is authorized to prescribe will be identified on their practice permit.
All clinical practice areas appropriate to their stream of practice. NP practice permits only identify the NP stream of practice and any limitations, if any exist.
|How do they become authorized?|
Before applying to become an authorized prescriber, RNs must have practice setting support including:
RNs must also complete a NEPAB approved prescribing course and have a minimum of 3,000 hours of RN clinical practice (with 750 hours in the clinical practice area where RN prescribing will occur).
Prescribing of is part of the NP entry-to-practice competencies. New graduates from an NP program in Alberta are educated and authorized to prescribe controlled drugs and substances.
NPs wanting to prescribe opioid agonist therapy require additional education as outlined in the Prescribing Standards for NPs.