Wage Increase for Nurse Practitioners/ Registered Nurse Prescribers

The NSNU and NSGEU recently concluded a classification and re-classification process, as per Article 8.15 in your collective agreement. That language states that if a nurse believes the job has changed substantially since the signing of the collective agreement, an application can be made to the employer, and the unions and the employer can enter into a process to negotiate a more appropriate rate; as well, if a new classification is introduced, the union and the employer can negotiate a rate of pay for that position.

The NSGEU and NSNU recently settled on a new wage rate for Nurse Practitioners, as the scope of this role has changed significantly. NPs’ increased responsibilities include, but are not limited to, admissions and discharges from hospital, consulting specialists, working autonomously to diagnose, order and interpret laboratory tests, ordering and interpreting reports of diagnostic imaging investigations, prescribing pharmaceuticals and performing procedures.

As a result of the re-classification process and ensuing negotiations, the new wage rate of NPs will increase by eight per cent.

Language in your collective agreement also allows negotiations to take place if a new position is created. Recently, the employer introduced Registered Nurse prescribing, which allows RNs who complete extensive education (Masters medication course) to prescribe medication to patients. The Council of Nursing Unions and employer have agreed to increase the hourly rate of those nurses by an additional $4 per hour.

Work began in 2017 to advance RN prescribing in Nova Scotia. In late January, government announced that a range of professional development opportunities will be available to optimize scopes of practice for triage nurses working in emergency departments, including the RN prescribing course.

The Certificate in Registered Nurse Prescribing program (part of the Master of Nursing curriculum) at Dalhousie University prepares RNs with specialized education and skills to prescribe medications within their specific area of expertise, practice, and client population.

Registered nurse prescribing improves services to patients by reducing wait times in various settings, specifically our EDs. The unions welcome the decision to expand this program.

We are hopeful that these increases will assist in recognizing the increased scope of practice of our nurses, as well as the value of their work. We look forward to negotiating wage increases for the remainder of the nursing bargaining unit in the weeks to come.

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