New Nursing Legislation Introduced
Patients will benefit from streamlined and updated legislation that governs the nursing profession. A new Registered Nurses Act, introduced today, May 8, by Health Minister Chris d’Entremont, will better define the scope of practice and how nurses work with other health professionals. The act will eliminate the barriers facing nurse practitioners, while following national standards. This will enable them to work in collaboration with other health-care professionals, allowing them to make a diagnosis, order tests and prescribe medications. A second piece of legislation, the Licensed Practical Nurses Act, clarifies the definition of their scope of practice. This allows them to work more independently with their patients. “The government is pleased to support nurses and their colleges. These updated acts will make it easier for nurses to perform their jobs while providing safe, competent and ethical care,” Mr. d’Entremont said today on the launch of National Nursing Week (May 8-15). “The Department of Health is able to introduce updated legislation because of the collaborative effort and hard work of both the regulatory bodies and nurses of Nova Scotia.” The College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia and the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia support the need for these new updated acts. The legislation was created after consultations with groups like Doctors Nova Scotia, nurses’ unions, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Pharmacies and the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia. The acts also include more modern complaints and discipline processes that allow the colleges to deal with concerns from the public about nurses more efficiently and effectively. “We are delighted that the government is introducing the new RN Act today,” said Linda Hamilton, executive director of the College Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia. “In light of the pressures on today’s health-care system, clarifying the scope of practice of registered nurses and increasing public access to the health-care services they provide can only be a good thing.” Ann Mann, executive director of the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia, is also pleased to see the introduction of the bills. “The College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia, like many other health-care organizations, is responding to the many challenges facing health care by supporting legislation that clarifies the current role and responsibilities of licensed practical nurses.” About 9,526 registered nurses are licensed by the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia and 3,058 licensed practical nurses are licensed by the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia. Nursing is the latest health profession to update its legislation in recent years. Other groups include psychologists, dentists, chiropractors and optometrists and opticians.