Ontario Consulting on Expanding Role of Nurse Practitioners

Expanding scope of practice would make it faster and more convenient for people to access care

The Ontario government is starting consultations with the College of Nurses of Ontario and other health care partners on expanding the scope of practice for nurse practitioners. Allowing nurse practitioners to better use their training, skills and education will help Ontarians connect to more convenient care and help free up more time for physicians to spend caring for patients with more complicated needs.

“Our government is continuing to use every tool in our toolbox to ensure people have access to the care they need, when they need it,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “By considering changes to allow nurse practitioners to provide more care to their patients, we will connect more people to convenient primary care, while reducing the need for referrals to other providers.”

Proposed changes include:

  • providing faster care for someone in cardiac arrest by allowing nurse practitioners to order and apply a defibrillator, which provides an electric shock to help restore a person’s regular heartbeat.
  • making it faster for people to receive care if their heart isn’t beating regularly by allowing nurse practitioners to order and apply cardiac pacemaker therapy.
  • help people with skin conditions and lesions such as skin tags get them removed faster by allowing nurse practitioners to order and perform electrocoagulation.
  • complete and sign mandatory blood testing forms for specific infectious diseases.

The government is also consulting on changes that would improve the end-of-life experience for families after the death of a loved one by allowing nurse practitioners to certify death in all circumstances, as well as allowing registered nurses to certify death when the death has been expected. This will help ensure deaths are certified in a timely manner to preserve dignity for the deceased and their families.

As part of the Your Health plan, the Ontario government is making it easier for highly skilled, regulated health care professionals, including nurse practitioners and registered nurses, to work to the full extent of their training and expertise to better serve the needs of people in a connected and convenient manner.

Quick Facts

  • The College of Nurses of Ontario will continue to support patient safety and quality of care by providing practice standards and setting training and education requirements, to ensure nurse practitioners and registered nurses in Ontario have the knowledge, skill and judgment needed to deliver safe patient care.
  • Since 2018, Ontario has seen a record-breaking number of new health care professionals join the workforce, adding 80,000 new nurses with another 30,000 nurses currently studying at Ontario colleges and universities.
  • Since expanding the role of registered nurses to prescribe medications, 122 registered nurses have been authorized to prescribe, after meeting specific requirements, with close to 900 others in the process of meeting education requirements for RN prescribing.