• Advanced practice nursing;
  • Canada;
  • medical directives;
  • nurse practitioner;
  • prescriptive authority

PURPOSE. This study aims to describe the role of prescriptive authority for nurses within Canada.

CONCLUSIONS. Prescriptive authority for Canadian nurses is linked to the development of advanced practice nursing generally and nurse practitioners specifically. Recent legislative changes allow nurse practitioners to function more independently regardless of the availability of medical practitioners. The smaller population results in less legislative variety for specific nurse practitioner specialty areas. Facilitators and barriers to implementing effective prescriptive authority remain as challenges and mirror findings from other literature.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS. Role clarity, strength in nursing focus, and support from administrators and legislation are required for prescriptive authority to be fully enacted.