Provincial Policies: Jurisprudence Information: NP

The NP jurisprudence information is divided into three (3) categories: Provincial Policies, relevant Federal Legislation, and relevant Provincial Legislation. Within each of these categories is a list of policies and/or legislation to be aware of for safe nursing practice. To guide your study, each section includes a list of competencies, objectives, a synopsis of information and links to relevant resources. This study guide is specific to regulatory policies.

NPs are not defined as medical practitioners under any provincial Act or Regulations. This term is used to define the physician role. 

(1) competency 

Prescribes drugs in a manner consistent with Nova Scotia Pharmacare policies  

Objectives - the nurse practitioner will: 

  • identify who can receive Pharmacare benefits in Nova Scotia 
  • identify that the Nova Scotia formulary details which drugs and supplies are benefits under the Nova Scotia Pharmacare Programs 
  • identify that there are exception status drugs that require specific criteria to be met to receive coverage. 

Synopsis of Information

The Nova Scotia Formulary details which drugs and supplies are benefits under the various Pharmacare programs listed below. All medications in the Formulary are classified according to the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) Classification System which groups chemically similar products according to their site of action and facilitates the comparison of new medicines with previously available medicines. It also provides information on: 

  • Brand or Manufacturer's name of the drug, including dosage form and/or route and strength 
  • Prescriber codes associated with each benefit under the Pharmacare Programs. These codes indicate which benefits will be reimbursed when prescribed by a specific prescriber 
  • Benefit status (plans for which the product is a benefit) 
  • Drug Identification Number (DIN) 
  • Abbreviation of manufacturer 
  • Interchangeable product groups (indicated by products in the same box) 
  • Maximum Reimbursable Price - MRP (if applicable) 
  • Diabetes and ostomy supplies are listed in the Miscellaneous section.  These products are benefits under the Senior’s and Community Services Pharmacare Programs. Diabetes supplies are also benefits under the Diabetes Assistance Program. 

The Nova Scotia Government Pharmacare Programs provide assistance to eligible Nova Scotia residents to help pay for prescribed medications and supplies, as outlined by the Nova Scotia Formulary. There are five Pharmacare programs including: 

  • Drug Assistance for Cancer Patients Program provides drug assistance for cancer patients who are eligible residents based on their income.  Benefits include pain medications, chemotherapeutic agents, antiemetics and laxatives.  
  • Pharmacare Benefits - Department of Community Services through the Department of Community Services provides coverage for medications through Pharmacare for those receiving income assistance, persons with disabilities, and for minors being cared for by child welfare. 
  • Diabetes Assistance Program provides Nova Scotia residents under the age of 65 with a diagnosis of diabetes who do not have a drug plan and are unable to pay for supplies may be eligible for this program. 
  • Family Pharmacare Program provides support for eligible Nova Scotia residents if they have no drug coverage or if the costs of the required drugs are a financial burden. 
  • Seniors' Pharmacare Program is applicable to all seniors in Nova Scotia and assists with the cost of prescribed medications, supplies and related services. 

Exception status drugs are intended for clients not responding to first line therapy. Coverage of exception status drugs will be approved according to criteria provided in Appendix III of the Exception Status Drugs.  Included with the Nova Scotia Formulary are forms for Exception Status Drug requests, which may be used to facilitate the approval process. 


(1) competency 

Order diagnostic imaging tests consistent with provincial policy 

Objectives - the nurse practitioner will: 

  • identify who can order MRI tests 
  • identify who can interpret results of diagnostic imaging tests 

Synopsis of Information

NPs have the authority to order and interpret laboratory and other screening and diagnostic tests in accordance with their educational preparation, competence and focus of practice. NPs order diagnostic imaging tests and act on radiologists’ interpretation. In specific practice areas NPs may be required to interpret a diagnostic imaging test for which they have received specific education (e.g., endotracheal tube placement, simple fractures). NPs are responsible for any required follow-up. 

All family physicians and NPs in Nova Scotia may order adult MRI services directly without prior approval from a specialist or radiologist. All requests for MRI services are screened by a local radiologist for appropriateness and triaged according to level of urgency.