Meet Jennifer Radcliffe, one of Nova Scotia’s first RN prescribers

Jennifer Radcliffe, One of Nova Scotia’s first RN prescribers

As of February 2022, a small group of registered nurses (RNs) at Nova Scotia Health and the IWK Health Centre are officially able to write prescriptions and order routine tests.

One of the proud members of Nova Scotia’s first RN prescribing cohort is Jennifer Radcliffe, who has been a nurse since 2006. After working all over the province, in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, she is now part of the team at the Truro Access and Sexual Health Clinic.

“I always really liked science.” said Radcliffe. “I also really like helping people. After high school I completed a science degree at Acadia University, and realized nursing was the best mix of all my interests, then I decided to attend St. FX to complete the accelerated post-degree nursing program.

She credits the supportive managers in the Northern Zone for encouraging her to participate in the program and become an RN prescriber.

“The managers in the northern zone approached me, and I’m really glad that they did,” said Radcliffe. “Because I was looking at doing something more with nursing, and this was just the perfect fit at the perfect time. I feel really lucky to have participated in the pilot project and am very grateful that they thought of me.”

Managing school and working full time can be overwhelming, but Radcliffe noted that it was a matter of being very disciplined with her time management.

“The program really interesting,” said Radcliffe. “It was definitely different than anything I’ve experienced before, and it’s so rewarding to have been able to complete it.”

And it’s clear that her colleagues are also thrilled she’s now able to prescribe.

“They’ve really set me up for success,” said Radcliffe. “They are just so supportive. They’re really good at seeking out opportunities, and as a result, I’ve been able to help lessen their workload by doing those little extra assessments.”

With roles and responsibilities of healthcare providers always evolving to better meet population health needs and improve timely access to care, Radcliffe believes that there is still a shift required in the way we think about healthcare.

“There’s actually a lot I can do for our patients. It’s just a matter of understanding everyone’s roles, and how we are all working together to provide the best possible care.”

Going forward, Radcliffe wants to ensure that as many people are getting taken care of as possible at the clinic in Truro. And her schooling hasn’t stopped. The experience motivated her to keep going, and she has started the nurse practitioner program at Athabasca University.

“I started studying to become a Nurse Practitioner right after I finished the RN prescribing program,” said Radcliffe. “It provided a really great foundation, and I hope to become a practicing NP in 2025.”

More information on RN prescribing can be found on Nova Scotia Health’s RN Prescribing Library Guide and through the Nova Scotia College of Nursing.

Improving access to health care is a priority at Nova Scotia Health. Our Innovation hub leads research, innovation and discovery within Nova Scotia’s healthcare system to deliver high-impact solutions for patients and providers. Through strategic partnerships, we are transforming health care through leading-edge research, the best available evidence, and innovative solutions.