New RN & RPN Certified Practice for Opioid Use Disorder

Certified Practice for RN & RPN: What does it mean?

The BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) has approved new and amended standards, limits, and conditions creating a new designation of certified practice for opioid use disorder (OUD) for registered nurses (RNs) and registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs) effective November 1, 2023.

In September 2020, a Public Health Officer (PHO) order temporarily permitted authorized RNs or RPNs to diagnose and treat OUD. With the creation of Certified Practice for OUD (CP-OUD), this expanded scope of practice will now be a permanent amendment to the Health Professions and Occupations Act and designation through the BCCNM.

This permanent authorization better positions RNs and RPNs in BC to further fill gaps in our substance use system of care to help reduce mortality from the toxic drug supply.  Certified Practice OUD nurses will continue to prescribe per the BCCSU Decision Support Tools (DSTs), as they did under the PHO, with the added benefit of CP-OUD nurses will now be authorized to write a client specific order which others nurses can act upon to dispense or administer medications for the treatment out OUD as outlined in the DSTs.

Transferring or Obtaining Certification

Registered Nurses and RPNs who are currently diagnosing and treating clients under the order have the opportunity to transition to this new certified practice designation. BCCNM will contact RNs and RPNs currently prescribing for OUD under the temporary public health order in October inviting them to apply for CP-OUD designation. There will be no application fee and certified practice OUD registration will be granted by November 30, 2023.  Nurses that do not transfer over to CP-OUD by November 30, 2023 will no longer be able to diagnose and treat OUD until they successfully apply for CP-OUD status.

Education and Training

The training pathway offered by the BCCSU will continue to be the approved education program to meet the requirements to apply for CP-OUD. Those that previously completed the Provincial Opioid Addiction Treatment Support Program (POATSP) for RNs and RPNs education and training pathway and obtained authorization to prescribe under the temporary order also meet the education requirements for CP-OUD. BCCSU will also maintain governance over the decision support tools and training competencies for this certified practice area.

For more information, please see the FAQ, and visit the BCCNM website here. For training related inquiries, please contact [email protected].