Ontario registered nurses soon able to prescribe birth control, travel medication

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Registered nurses in Ontario will soon be able to prescribe certain medications such as birth control and drugs for smoking cessation.

Health Minister Sylvia Jones says expanding registered nurses' scope of practice gives people in Ontario more convenient access to care and will reduce wait times at community clinics and hospitals.

It follows a series of other expansions the government has made recently to the scope of practice for nurses and other professionals such as pharmacists and midwives.

The province says that the nurses will need to complete additional education in order to prescribe, and registration is set to open in January.

Registered nurses who complete that training would be able to prescribe birth control, smoking cessation drugs, travel medications to treat and prevent malaria and traveller's diarrhea, and topical wound care.

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario has long called for nurses to have prescribing power and CEO Doris Grinspun says the organization welcomes this change ``with open arms.''