Nurses Working with Virtual MDs or NPs

Virtual MDs or NPs provide advice, diagnosis and order medications, devices and diagnostic tests, including prescriptions, via an electronic means and may or may not be based in Nova Scotia.

We developed this practice scenario to help nurses understand considerations to be aware of when working with virtual MDs or NPs.   

Q. What considerations do I need to be aware of when working with virtual MDs or NPs?

A. Virtual care has been defined as any interaction between clients and members of their circle of care, occurring remotely, using any form of communication or information technologies, with the aim of facilitating or maximizing the quality and effectiveness of client care.

Virtual MDs and NPs provide advice, diagnosis and order medications, devices and diagnostic tests, including prescriptions, via an electronic means and may or may not be based in Nova Scotia. The encounter is remote and generally there is no previous relationship between the client and the virtual MD or NP; the RN or LPN will rely on the relationship established through technology-based interaction.

NSCN and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia (CPSNS) authorize nurses and physicians licensed elsewhere in Canada to deliver telenursing/telemedicine to clients in Nova Scotia without having to obtain an N.S. nursing or medical licence. For more information, read the CPSNS Professional Standards Regarding the Provision of Telemedicine Services.  

NSCN advises you to confirm with your employer their expectations of your role in this care model and to follow employer processes. You should be aware of processes and/or risk mitigation plans related to:

  • When questions arise regarding orders or care
  • When a client requires immediate care or reassessment locally
  • Confirming that a prescriber residing in another province is licensed and authorized to prescribe before enacting any order
  • Documentation  

If no policies or processes exist at your place of employment you are accountable to advocate for and contribute to the development and implementation of them to improve nursing practice and/or health care.

For further information on anything contained within this practice support tool, please contact an NSCN Practice Consultant at practice@nscn.ca.

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