Certificate in Registered Nurse Prescribing

Offered by:  Faculty of Health, School of Nursing

Coordinator: Associate Director Graduate Studies

Contact: rnpc@dal.ca


The Certificate in Registered Nurse Prescribing prepares experienced Registered Nurses to practise in an expanded nursing role with the knowledge to deliver evidence-based practice in prescribing, while further refining their clinical decision-making skills to prescribe safely and cost efficiently. The certificate program is aligned with the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) National Framework for RN Prescribing and has been developed collaboratively by the Dalhousie University School of Nursing, Nova Scotia College of Nursing, IWK Health Centre, Nova Scotia Health, and the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.

Please note, the certificate program is in its pilot phase and will only be offered as determined by the needs of the province. At this time, applications will only be considered for NSH / IWK nurses who have been endorsed by their employer and have been approved by the Director of Interprofessional Practice and Learning (NSH) or the Director of Nursing (IWK).

When the province identifies a need, the following application process is followed:

The Program Director (NSH or IWK) will provide the School of Nursing with a list of endorsed employees and a letter of endorsement (from respective managers) for each sponsored employee, requesting that the applicant be considered for admission, and outlining the program intent to sponsor and to support RN prescribing in the designated area where the applicant is practicing.

Admission Requirements / Eligibility

  1. Undergraduate degree in Nursing or Diploma in Nursing.
  2. Active RN License in the Province of NS
  3. Minimum GPA of 3.3 on the Dalhousie grade scale
  4. *Minimum three years (full-time equivalent) relevant clinical experiences after initial registration within the previous five years with the population they will be prescribing
  5. Demonstrated critical thinking and risk assessment skills

*Baccalaureate prepared nurses must have a minimum of three (3) years (full-time equivalent) of continuous clinical practice (post initial registration) in an employer-designated area of clinical practice. Diploma prepared nurses must have a minimum of four (4) years (full-time equivalent) of continuous clinical experience in a designated area. Minimum years of clinical experience must be after initial RN registration and completed in the past 5 licensure years in Canada caring for the clients with the health conditions for which they will be prescribing. Additionally, manager endorsement must be able to speak to the applicant’s critical thinking and risk assessment skills.

Certification Requirements

Core course requirements:

  1. NURS 5740.03 Advanced Health Assessment
    This course includes 3 hours of lecture per week that can be attended in person on Dalhousie Halifax campus or virtually. The lecture attendance is mandatory for the entire semester.  This course also includes 3 hours of lab time per week. Lab attendance is mandatory for the first 8 weeks of classes. The labs are conducted on campus in Halifax or in a pre-determined location in Cape Breton. All students must also attend Dal’s Halifax campus for an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) once during the term. In addition to lecture and lab requirements, students will also be required to complete 50 clinical hours in their practice setting as a student to develop their assessment skills. This clinical time is not to be considered work time.
  2. NURS 5736.03 Pharmacotherapeutics for Registered Nurse (RN) Prescribing (P)
    Students build knowledge and skills related to pharmacotherapeutics, and the legal and ethical responsibilities of prescribing through self-directed learning. Optional synchronous sessions are scheduled throughout the semester to augment learning.
  3.  NURS 5630.03 Integrated Professional Practicum for Registered Nurse (RN) Prescribing (P)
    Students complete a minimum of 150 hours in a supervised clinical practicum experience in their workplace. This experience enables students to further develop their knowledge and skills related to the prescribing process under the direct supervision of licensed prescribers (Nurse Practitioners or Physicians) provided by NSH. The clinical practicum is supplemented by online synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences; included student self-directed learning of relevant clinical and theoretical content.

Application Process:

  1. Submit online application and appropriate application fee. Third party billing is not accepted for application processing. https://www.dal.ca/faculty/gradstudies/graduate-programs-admissions/admission_requirements/admission_process.html - Please ensure the correct academic term is selected (ie. January 2023 is “202320”, September 2023 is “202410”, etc).
  2. Submit one academic letter of reference (provide name and institutional email address of reference on application portal via EREF when completing application) from a previous nursing faculty member or any individual that can speak to your academic abilities (e.g., clinical educator).
  3. Request official transcripts of all post-secondary education be sent electronically (email preferred) directly to rnpc@dal.ca (Dalhousie transcripts are not required). Diploma graduates who completed training in NS can request transcript from NSCN.
  4. Submit resume (including RN license number) to rnpc@dal.ca.  Applicants who are selected for an interview will be contacted by the Dalhousie School of Nursing.

Please note that RN Prescribing Certificate Students will be required to submit preclinical documentation, regardless of whether a clinical placement is with a current employer.

Please see https://www.dal.ca/faculty/health/nursing/current-students/Immunization,%20CPR,%20CRC-VSS%20and%20First%20Aid.html for more information on documentation that will be required.