Quebec's super nurses set to get new powers as Bill 43 in introduced

In this Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. (David Goldman/AP Photo)

QUEBEC -- Super nurses are about to get new powers in Quebec.

Health Minister Danielle McCann introduced Bill 43 on Wednesday, a law designed to increase the role of specialized nurse practitioners.

Under the new legislation, nurses would be able to make diagnoses, determine treatments and prescribe drugs.

McCann called it an "historic" moment that was about to give patients better access to the health network.

"We need them to take more patients with the help of a multidisciplinary team so that's what we're working on now," said McCann. "We have to move now in terms of getting services in first line to people who are waiting, because countries who have a strong first line with clinics with multidisciplinary teams that are working optimally are the countries that have the best health and social services system."

Patients would be able to rely on super nurses to treat common health problems like infections and injuries, as well as chronic conditions like osteoporosis, arthritis, osteoarthritis and migraines. They could also be consulted for pediatric treatment and mental health issues. Nurses would advise patients to consult a doctor for more complex cases, like cancer.

There are currently 600 super nurses in Quebec who can only make 'diagnostic assumptions' for six chronic conditions. The government wants to push that figure to 2,000 by 2025.

Super nurses are health professionals who must have a master's degree in nursing plus a complementary degree in medical science, followed by a 950-hour internship.

Of the 74,000 registered nurses in the province, roughly 550 are nurse practitioners. 

- With additional reporting from CTV News Montreal