Volume 11 | No. 6 | Nov / Dec 2023 query_builder 1 minute

The importance of timely orders

Professional guideline


The College is aware that community nurses, notably those caring for complex pediatric patients through private or community agencies, are facing challenges in obtaining orders from physicians for effective clinical care in the home environment.

Nurses play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between the hospital and the community. However, they often rely on the timely issuance of clear and comprehensive orders from physicians to provide appropriate care and effectively execute their responsibilities. For instance, initial medication orders may be incomplete, or a patient’s oxygen needs may change requiring an adjusted order. If a nurse cannot contact the physician, patient care could be delayed.

Though the College acknowledges the complexities and demands on physicians' time and resources, it is important to remember that timely and precise orders are a core component of medicine and empower nurses to provide the highest quality care, prevent complications, and ensure patient safety.

As per the College’s Prescribing Practices, Countersigning Prescriptions and Internet Prescribing professional guideline, the provision of a prescription to a patient is a medical act. It is the result of a clinical decision made by a physician or surgeon subsequent to a comprehensive evaluation of the patient. Asking a nurse to provide care outside their scope of practice, by writing out a prescription themselves, is not appropriate.