Nova Scotia

RNs could start training for writing prescriptions as early as January

Registered nurses in Nova Scotia will be trained as early as January to prescribe certain antibiotics for specific diagnoses, which will greatly reduce the amount of time patients spend waiting for a doctor after being assessed, says the president of the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union.

'It's a good utilization of our resources,' says Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union

Registered nurses will be trained to prescribe certain antibiotics for specific diagnoses. (CBC)

Registered nurses in Nova Scotia could start training to prescribe antibiotics as early as January, says the president of the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union.

Speaking on Thursday to a legislature committee, Janet Hazelton said the first round of prescription training will be offered to a select group of registered nurses from various departments, such as mental health and emergency.

Registered nurses will be trained to prescribe certain antibiotics for specific diagnoses, which will greatly reduce the amount of time patients spend waiting for a doctor after being assessed, said Hazelton.

She used the example of a patient who comes in with a urinary tract infection. Registered nurses take a urine sample, send it to the lab and then the results come back.

"We are going to be able to write a prescription for antibiotics," said Hazelton. "Because it says this is the infection, this is the antibiotic of choice, it's a good utilization of our nurses."

35 recommendations

Last month, the union released a report containing 35 recommendations that would allow licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners work to their full scope of practice and in ways that can help improve access to primary care.

One of those recommendations was to have registered nurses write certain prescriptions.

The prescription training program, which has been in conversation since before the report was released, is the first of the 35 recommendations to make headway.

The training will be offered through Dalhousie University's Faculty of Medicine.

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