Better use of nurses and their skills can help Nova Scotia's primary care:union

The Nova Scotia Nurses' Union says better use of nurses' skills and training could improve access to primary care in the province.

The union released the results of a study today which makes 35 recommendations it says will help a system that has the highest burden of chronic disease in the country along with high wait times for primary and emergency care.

Union president Janet Hazelton says part of the solution is to allow registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nurse practitioners to practice to their full potential.

Hazelton says true reform would see nurses work in a system that is ``preventative'' and is based on collaboration.

Among other things, the study calls for registered nurses to be trained to prescribe medications and to order related diagnostic tests.

It also suggests the hiring of nurse practitioners to assist nurses who deliver in-home care, and to allow nurse practitioners to admit and transfer patients within hospitals to further improve efficiency.