On November 23, Alberta's Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman announced changes to the healthcare system, which will allow registered nurses in the province to access a greater degree of freedoms in treating patients.
These changes include the ability to prescribe schedule 1 drugs in the following settings:
- In travel clinics, treatments for Hepatitis A and B and antibiotics can be prescribed, including drugs such as Ciprofloxacin and Azithromycin for traveler's diarrhea.
- Treatment for sexually transmitted infections such as Septra for treating conditions such as Chlamydia or urinary tract infections.
- Drugs and immunizations to aid workers in occupational health and safety programs, such as tetanus, Hepatitis B or Pneumococcal vaccines.
In addition, nurses will also have the ability to order tests for their patients such as: blood counts, urinalysis tests, X-rays and therapeutic drug levels for antibiotics.
Hoffman says these changes enable nurses to play a bigger role in maintaining the health of their patients.
"Nurses have always played a vital role in Alberta’s health-care system, and their future as a profession has never been brighter. I’m proud our government is supporting nurses to use their frontline expertise and training to help Albertans get the care they need sooner and closer to home."
Alberta Government spokesperson Kate Toogood says these revised changes in the healthcare system will allow nurses to better serve rural communities.
"Authorizing more health professionals to provide these services will ensure they are readily available closer to home, especially in rural and remote areas of the province. These measures will help to ensure Albertans in all parts of the province can more easily obtain the health care services they need – when and where that care is needed. In particular, registered nurse prescribing will assist in mitigating wait times and provide more efficient access to services for Albertans in rural communities."
The new changes are set to take effect in May 2019.
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