Greater powers for supernurses (2) | Protecteur du Citoyen
April 22, 2020

Greater powers for supernurses (2)


Corps de trois infirmières tenant des stéthoscopes les bras croisés

Specialized nurse practitioners (SNPs) have new powers. For example, they can diagnose common illnesses based on their expertise. 

Powers to diagnose and treat

Under the Act (Bill 43), SNPs may, based on their specialty, and without supervision by a physician:

  • diagnose common illnesses; 
  • determine medical treatments;
  • monitor normal or low-risk pregnancies;
  • authorize preventive withdrawal for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Remember that SNPs were already empowered to:

  • prescribe diagnostic tests (blood work, X rays, ECGs, ultrasounds, etc.);
  • use diagnostic techniques that are invasive or that present a risk of injury, such as artery and lumbar puncture and venipuncture;
  • prescribe drugs or other substances (antibiotics, anticoagulants, anti-hypertensives, inhaler devices, etc.);
  • prescribe medical treatments, such as installing stomach tubes, urinary catheters or pacemakers, and giving blood transfusions;
  • use or apply medical techniques that are invasive or that present a risk of injury (e.g. tracheal intubation or extubation, chest tube insertion or removal, or defibrillation). 

Note that SNPs must confer with a physician if a situation is beyond their sphere.

For more information about these new responsibilities, see the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec website.

Possible recourse

Do you have a complaint about the quality of the care and services provided by SNPs? Contact the service quality and complaints commissioner of the institution concerned.

Are you dissatisfied with the commissioner’s conclusions, or haven’t heard back within 45 days? Turn to the Québec Ombudsman as a second level of redress. Our services are free and there’s no red tape.

Also see: Greater powers for pharmacists (1)