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Prescribing standard for RNs and RPNs approved by BCCNM board

Sep 24, 2020

The BCCNM board on Sep. 24, 2020 approved new Prescribing Medications scope of practice standards, limits, conditions for both RNs and RPNs. These new BCCNM Prescribing standards, limits and conditions are principle-based and set foundational requirements for current scope of practice prescribing by RNs and RPNs while also being proactive and providing for enhanced client safety for future RN and RPN prescribing initiatives.

The BCCNM board also approved new RN and RPN scope of practice limits and conditions for prescribing buprenorphine/naloxone to treat opioid use disorder. On Sep. 16, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) issued an order temporarily authorizing RNs and RPNs to diagnose and treat a problem substance use condition or substance use disorder, including by providing opioid agonist treatment and by pr​escribing pharmaceutical alternatives to illegally produced or street procured drugs, and by referring clients to primary care and specialized health and social services. (Review BCCNM's Sep. 16, 2020 announcement.)

This public health order follows a recent Health Canada decision granting a temporary exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to allow RNs and RPNs in British Columbia to prescribe buprenorphine/naloxone (i.e., Suboxone or its generic versions) for the treatment of opioid use disorder. This exemption is subject to specific conditions that include meeting provincial regulations and requirements of BCCNM.

The Health Canada exemption, as well as the PHO's public health order, are both required to enable this new prescribing authority to proceed.

These new standards, limits and conditions will come into effect Oct. 26, 2020.