Registered nurses in Ontario will soon be able to independently prescribe some medications like birth control, the province’s health minister announced Monday.
Beginning in January 2024, nurses will be able to take additional training and certification courses that will allow them to prescribe things like birth control, drugs for smoking cessation and travel medications to treat or prevent things like malaria and traveller’s diarrhea, according to a news release.
Nurses will also be able to prescribe flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines.
Those certification courses are being developed and will require approval from the Council of the College of Nurses of Ontario.
“We are making it easier for health care professionals to work to the full extent of their training and expertise, while providing people with more convenient access to care closer to home,” Health Minister Sylvia Jones said at the announcement.
Asked when patients in Ontario can expect to receive the mentioned prescriptions from registered nurses, a spokesperson for the ministry reiterated the training programs are under development. In an email, the spokesperson said more information about how long the training may take will be shared when it’s available.
Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario — which has long called for nurses to have prescribing power — says the association welcomes the move “with open arms.”