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Optimizing Nursing Scope of Practice
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Optimizing Nursing Scope of Practice
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Temporary Expedited Authorization to Optimize Nursing Scope of Practice
Memo from Sharon Garratt, Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) and Vice President Integrated Urban Health to Registered Nurses (RNs), Registered
Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) – Employees of Saskatchewan Health Authority SHA Executive Leadership Team,
SHA Senior Leadership Team, SHA Directors and SHA Managers.
April 15, 2020
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The SHA continues in its preparations and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes preparing for the likelihood that our patients will
require SHA nursing staff to optimize their scopes of practice and work beyond entry-level competencies (BELCs). The SHA Professional Scopes of
Practice policy and associated procedures for optimizing practice were not completed prior to the pandemic and there is no longer a mechanism in
many areas for authorizing these practices.
In order to accomplish this, a provincial approval and training process is in development that ensures the education and certification necessary for
the following BELCs:
Registered Nurse Specialty Practices (RNSP);
Registered Psychiatric Nurse Specialty Practices (RPNSP); and
Licensed Practical Nurse Additional Competencies (LPNAC).
This temporary expedited approval and training process will be exercised in accordance with the SHA’s pandemic plan and on the direction of the
CNO and Provincial Training Lead. Consultation with the EOC, Integrated Health Incident Command Centre (IHICC) teams, service lines (e.g.
cardiology, renal services, medicine, etc), and Clinical Standards & Professional Practice will inform this process. This process does not signal
widespread expansion of the need for additional BELCs or BELC certification, but rather provides a mechanism for approval when needs are
This process does not affect nurse’s current BELC certifications - nurses will continue to be certified in BELCs obtained prior to the pandemic. The
process applies to new BELCs and remains in effect until cessation of pandemic operations. Certification will include education and context related
to the practice environment. Nurses certified for BELCs through the temporary expedited process may be able to continue to apply their
competencies post-pandemic if appropriate for their work environment. Whether or not the certification continues will be based on an evaluation
and process that follows the standardized recertification processes outlined in the anticipated SHA policy and procedures.
This expedited approval and training process ensures SHA nursing staff can safely use additional competencies where required to respond to the
evolving and unpredictable impact of a COVID-19 outbreak. Our colleagues at the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association, Registered
Psychiatric Nurses’ Association and Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses are aware of this temporary training and certification
approach. Discussions have also occurred with the Ministry of Health and appropriate union leadership.
These processes temporarily supersede all related former Regional Health Authority (RHA) policies that address training/education/certification
processes for RNSP, RPNSP and LPNAC until cessation of pandemic operations and/or until the SHA Professional Scopes of Practice policy and
associated procedures are approved.
Our overall goal is to meet the projected COVID-19 patient demand while continuing to deliver services to non-pandemic patients in order to
minimize loss of life. As nurses, we are key members of the health care team and have important roles and responsibilities to help achieve this goal.
This temporary certification process will support Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses to safely and
appropriately optimize their scopes of practice as they work collaboratively with other members of the health care team.
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