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Registered Nurse – Prescribing

Online Campus | Program Code:
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Overview

This graduate certificate program allows registered nurses (RNs) to expand their role to include prescribing of medications. In 2023, the Ontario government announced they would allow registered nurses to prescribe medications, after meeting specific requirements, for certain conditions such as contraception, immunizations, smoking cessation, and topical wound care in a variety of settings including long-term care homes and retirement homes. 

In consultation with stakeholders and using evidence from other jurisdictions to align with legislation, the Registered Nurse – Prescribing program was developed to meet the needs of Ontarians in a safe, efficient way.

SLC is delivering this training through its SLC+ Continuing Education online platform. Applicants must be RNs with current registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) without restrictions, with two years of full-time experience (or equivalent).

  • Open to domestic applicants only. This program is not available for international students. 
  • Each theory course is delivered in an online asynchronous (work at your own pace) format. 
  • Students will have one calendar year to complete the two theory courses and one clinical practicum course (150 hours).

SLC is part of a consortium of six Ontario colleges delivering this program across Southeastern and Northwestern Ontario. Indigenous and bilingual ways of knowing and learning were considered in the development of the program to ensure that the needs of all communities served can be met. The online program delivery model ensures access for nurses across all of Ontario and learners are encouraged to register for their program with the college that is in closest proximity to their preferred clinical placement location.

Program Details

Start Date Monthly
Credential Ontario College Graduate Certificate
Campus Online
Program Length 1 Year
Delivery Part-Time

Program Highlights

Upon completion of this program, the Registered Nurse will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the legislated scope, limitations and privileges of an RN who prescribes medications in Ontario aligning with the competencies and professional accountabilities with RN prescribing outlined by the CNO.
  2. Comply with Health Canada requirements for reporting adverse drug reactions.
  3. Demonstrate diagnostic reasoning when prescribing medications based on a thorough objective and subjective health assessment.
  4. Implement the principles of pharmacology using evidence to inform decision making when prescribing.
  5. Apply an ethical decision-making model with prescribing medications that recognizes equity, diversity and inclusion that may affect prescribing decisions
  6. Maintain accurate records related to assessment, diagnosis, and prescribing medications.
  7. Evaluate client understanding of rationale for the medication selected as well as the importance of compliance with frequency and duration of therapy, the side-effects, contraindications, precautions, and potential interactions with other medications they are prescribed.
  8. Design a follow up plan with the client.

Program Outline

2024-2025

In this course, you will explore the role of the prescribing Registered Nurse (RN) when assessing client health needs, communicating with the client, and prescribing. Through scenario-based activities, you will use critical thinking and clinical reasoning in clinical decision-making around health information, health history, diagnosis, and treatment. You will demonstrate accuracy and accountability in performing a health assessment on a client, gathering data on health and medication history, and documentation in the client record. You will also use therapeutic communication to obtain informed consent, communicate assessment findings and diagnoses, and establish a follow up plan. Courses can be taken concurrently but if they are being taken sequentially, to support student success it is strongly recommended that students take Advanced Health Assessment before taking Advanced Pharmacology.

Required textbook: Bickley, L.S., Szilagyi, P.G., Hoffman, R.M., and Soriano, R.P. (2023). Bates' Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking (13th ed.). Wolters Kluwer. ISBN: 9781975109943

In this course, you will demonstrate accountability, ethical decision-making, professional knowledge, and recognition of personal values when prescribing medication. You will recognize the roles and responsibilities of the prescribing Registered Nurse (RN) and healthcare team, including applicable legislation, laws, College standards, and guidelines when prescribing medication. Through scenario-based practice, you will apply knowledge of pharmacological principles, interactions, safety, accuracy, monitoring, and harm reduction when prescribing medication. You will also obtain informed consent and educate the client on the selection, actions, effects, risks, interactions, and proper use when prescribing medication. Courses can be taken concurrently but if they are being taken sequentially, to support student success it is strongly recommended that students take Advanced Health Assessment before taking Advanced Pharmacology.

Required textbook: Sealock, K., Seneviratne, C., Lilley, L.L., Rainforth Collins, S., and Snyder, J.S. (2021). Lilley's Pharmacology for Canadian Health Care Practice (4th ed.). Elsevier. ISBN: 9780323694827

In this course, you will integrate previous and new healthcare knowledge and skills into clinical practice settings across the health-illness continuum. When planning, implementing, evaluating, and documenting client care, you will use evidence-informed and strengths-based approaches to apply increasingly complex therapeutic nursing intervention as a RN with the capacity to prescribe medications. You will develop therapeutic relationships with clients and their families to provide care that is client-centered, safe, ethical, and compassionate. You will have opportunities to integrate your nursing knowledge and further develop your clinical skill performance, time management, and leadership abilities. You will incorporate the principles and processes of critical inquiry, relational practice, risk management, priority setting, and quality improvement in the clinical practice setting as a RN prescriber who is a member of an interprofessional health care team.  

Requirements

Admission Requirements

  • Proof of active unrestricted registration as a registered nurse (RN) in good standing with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) (or equivalent) is required for enrollment. You must provide your CNO registered number at the time of registration.
  • Evidence of direct post-graduation clinical practice hours (3,900 hours within the previous 5 years).
  • Suggestion of potential placement location under the supervision of a Nurse Practitioner or Physician.

Health Requirements

The following health requirements will need to be met for clinical practicum:

  • CPR Level C-HCP
  • Clear CPIC including vulnerable sector check
  • Up-to-date immunizations

Fees

2023-2024

The total tuition for this program is $1,000. Contact RNprescribing@sl.on.ca with any questions.

Career Opportunities

Registered nurses, after meeting specific requirements, will be able to prescribe medication for certain conditions while working in a variety of settings including long-term care homes and retirement homes. 

Other Information

Privacy Notice: As a student participating in the RN Prescribing Program, SLC will be required to collect, use, and disclose your personal information to RN Prescribing Consortium Colleges who are assigned to facilitate academic delivery for the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I do my placement?

Registered Nurses will complete their placements under the supervision of a Nurse Practitioner or a Physician in setting where RN Prescribing is permitted. Students should have a placement location in mind before enrolling in the program. 

What medications can Registered Nurses prescribe? 

RN Prescribing Drug List (cno.org)

Will my RN credential change? 

No, you will continue to practice as a Registered Nurse. Once an RN successfully completes the program, information will be added to their profile on the College of Nurses’ of Ontario’s public register. This information will confirm that you meet all the requirements to have the authority to prescribe the medications outlined under the Nursing Act.

Can I take one course at a time? 

You can take one or both of the theory courses together or one at a time. Students will move through each course at their own pace. You will have one year to complete both courses and the clinical placement. If you are taking one course at a time, it is recommended that you begin with Advanced Health Assessment and then take Advanced Pharmacology.

Program Contacts

Program Contact
RNPrescribing@sl.on.ca 

Registration for courses through SLC+ Continuing Education
lifelonglearning@sl.on.ca