COVID-19: SRNA Update

The SRNA is closely monitoring the ongoing outbreak to provide support to Registered Nurses (RNs), Registered Nurses with Additional Authorized Practice [RN(AAP)s], Nurse Practitioners (NPs), employers and provincial leadership. The SRNA is working closely with industry partners to monitor developments relating to COVID-19 and taking direction from provincial, federal and global health authorities. We will update this page daily with new information for the public and our members.

For the Public

Our system will continue to accept complaints as protection of the public remains our priority; however, given the current situation with Covid-19—although investigations will continue—delays will occur. Read More

Emergency Practicing licenses are being manually processed by the Regulatory team, but you can still perform a Nurse License Check on our website. Read More

Check here for a list of nurses who have received an Emergency Practice license.

For Members

In preparation for when our health care system needs us, the SRNA is compiling a bank of Emergency Practicing licensed RNs ready for when they are needed. The Regulatory team will be manually processing Emergency Practicing license requests. Please complete this self-assessment to determine if you qualify for an emergency license. Read More

To ensure the continued supply, and to prevent the stockpiling of a prescription medication, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health will require that Saskatchewan pharmacists limit the number and quantity of prescription drug dispenses. Read More


Daily Updates:

As of March 30, 2020

  • Change to Exception Drug Status (EDS) for Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine: The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health has identified existing patients who have been using Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine long term. The Ministry of Health has applied Exception Drug Status (EDS) to their records so that they will continue to receive the medications as a benefit under the Drug Plan. Read More

As of March 26, 2020

  • CNPE Administration Affected by Covid-19 Pandemic: On March 24, 2020, the SRNA received a notice from Yardstick Assessment Strategies (YAS) that the administration of the Canadian Nurse Practitioner Examination (CNPE) writing scheduled for May 6, 2020 has been affected by COVID-19. Read More
  • A Joint Message to Saskatchewan’s Doctors, Registered Nurses/Nurse Practitioners and Pharmacists: Use of Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®) and Azithromycin for COVID-19. Read More

As of March 25, 2020

  • Nursing Use of ICT Practice Update: RNs and NPs are working with organizations to provide continued safe, competent and ethical care to the people of Saskatchewan during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using virtual means, such as telehealth, to connect with patients and families is a necessity in today’s environment. When utilizing any other form of information and communication technologies (ICT) for telepractice, RNs and NPs must ensure they continue to uphold their standards, competencies and code of ethics. Read More
  • NCLEX Testing Opening: The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) has been working with Pearson VUE to facilitate the resumption of NCLEX testing March 25, 2020, in more than 70 Pearson VUE professional testing centers across the United States and Canada. At this time, Pearson Vue will not be opening a testing site in Saskatchewan. Read More
  • CELBAN Testing: Touchstone Institute has cancelled all upcoming CELBAN tests through July 31, 2020. Read More

As of March 20, 2020

  • In preparation for when our health care system needs us, the SRNA is compiling a bank of Emergency Practicing licensed RNs ready for when they are needed. We will be posting all approved and active Emergency Practicing RNs here.  If you, or anyone you know, may be interested in applying for Emergency Practicing licensure to help in this difficult time, refer to the criteria here. Current RNs, RN(AAP)s and NPs interested in being reassigned or those wishing to volunteer with the SHA, can contact HR-covid19@saskhealthauthority.ca.

As of March 19, 2020

  • CALLING ALL ELIGIBLE NURSES: We are implementing our plan to mobilize and support the province by putting a call out to all eligible Retired RNs and Grad Nurses to come forward and apply for Emergency Practicing licensure to assist our health care system in providing care during this unprecedented time. Read More
  • Nurse Practitioners Limiting Prescriptions: To ensure the continued supply, and to prevent the stockpiling of a prescription medication, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health will require that Saskatchewan pharmacists limit the number and quantity of prescription drug dispenses. Read More

As of March 18, 2020

  • Office Closure: Effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the SRNA office will be closed to the public until further notice. The SRNA will continue to be accountable for public protection by ensuring members are competent, especially during these unprecedented times. All SRNA services will be provided online, but all employees are working from home when possible. We expect these measures to continue for the foreseeable future, but they will be re-evaluated as the pandemic situation develops. If you have questions, contact us:
  • CELBAN Testing: Touchstone Institute has decided to cancel upcoming Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN) tests. More information here.
  • NCLEX Testing: The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) will be suspending all test deliveries at the U.S.-and-Canada based Pearson VUE test centers, the NCLEX test administrator, until April 16, 2020. NCSBN has published this FAQ for NCLEX candidates, educators and regulators.

As of March 11, 2020

  • Current State: On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. The SRNA is responding and planning accordingly.

For the Public

SRNA Complaints and Investigations

Our system will continue to accept complaints as protection of the public remains our priority; however, given the current situation with Covid-19—although investigations will continue—delays will occur.

Emergency Practicing Licenses

Emergency Practicing licenses are being manually processed by the Regulatory team, but you can still perform a Nurse License Check on our website. View the list of SRNA RNs, RN(AAP)s and NPs with current active Emergency Practicing licenses here. Note that this list will change as new members are licensed.

Important measures individuals can take to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, are:

  • Cleaning your hands regularly
  • Avoiding touching your face
  • Coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve
  • Disposing of tissues appropriately
  • Practicing social distancing by staying home and away from others, if you are sick

For Members

Change to Exception Drug Status (EDS) for Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine

The Drug Plan and Extended Benefits Branch is aligning access to certain medications with input from the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and the infectious disease clinicians to avoid inappropriate use of these medications as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health has identified existing patients who have been using Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine long term. The Ministry of Health has applied Exception Drug Status (EDS) to their records so that they will continue to receive the medications as a benefit under the Drug Plan. Their prescribers do not need to contact the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health to apply for EDS.

In addition, for new patients requiring these therapies, the Drug Plan has worked with adult and pediatric rheumatologists and infectious disease specialists to identify a list of those prescribers. We have created a process so that when a new prescription is filled at a pharmacy from one of these identified prescribers, the EDS will be automatically approved by the Drug Plan claims system for that patient. Again, no application is needed for EDS.

Currently, there are no antiviral agents that have been demonstrated to have clinical activity against COVID-19, and the foundation of treatment for all patients with COVID-19 remains supportive care, commensurate with degree of illness.

Review the Formulary Bulletin from the Ministry of Health here: Interim Measures Related to Exception Drug Status (EDS) During COVID-19 Pandemic

CNPE Administration Affected by Covid-19 Pandemic

On March 24, 2020, the SRNA received a notice from Yardstick Assessment Strategies (YAS) that the administration of the Canadian Nurse Practitioner Examination (CNPE) writing scheduled for May 6, 2020 has been affected by COVID-19.

The Canadian RN regulators are working together with YAS to determine options and possible next steps.

Information about next steps will be posted here as the information becomes available.

A Joint Message to Saskatchewan’s Doctors, Registered Nurses/Nurse Practitioners and Pharmacists: Use of Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®) and Azithromycin for COVID-19

During this time of unprecedented challenge and fast-moving information, we understand how difficult it is to keep up with all available evidence related to treatment of COVID-19.  With the recent barrage of social media on the use of these two drugs for COVID-19 treatment, we want to be sure you are clear on the current evidence and related risks. Read the full statement here

Nursing Use of ICT Practice Update

RNs and NPs are working with organizations to provide continued safe, competent and ethical care to the people of Saskatchewan during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using virtual means, such as telehealth, to connect with patients and families is a necessity in today’s environment. When utilizing any other form of information and communication technologies (ICT) for telepractice, RNs and NPs must ensure they continue to uphold their standards, competencies and code of ethics.

The importance of clinical knowledge, nursing judgment, communication and documentation skills is paramount when establishing and maintaining a nurse client relationship through telehealth. More information for nursing telehealth activities can be found in this nursing practice update.

NCSBN Resuming NCLEX Testing

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) has been working with Pearson VUE to facilitate the resumption of NCLEX testing March 25, 2020, in more than 70 Pearson VUE professional testing centers across the United States and Canada. At this time, Pearson Vue will not be opening a testing site in Saskatchewan. NCSBN indicated this is the initial phase of test openings, which was focused on large metropolitan areas where the immediate need for nurses was expected to be the greatest due to the patterns of rapid spread of COVID-19 experienced during this global pandemic.

NCSBN will continue to work with jurisdictions to determine if it is feasible to open testing centers in other areas. The ability to open a testing center is dependent upon several factors including whether there is a viable supply line of materials needed to disinfect the centers thoroughly for the duration of the crisis. Another is governmental rules or legislations that would prevent the opening of the testing center (i.e., essential business restrictions, building lockouts, etc.).

The SRNA will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.

For additional information, please visit: https://home.pearsonvue.com/nclex/essential-services

Emergency Practicing Licenses

Licensure of eligible registered nurses will be expedited during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

In preparation for when our health care system needs us, the SRNA is compiling a bank of Emergency Practicing licensed RNs ready for when they are needed. We will be posting all approved and active Emergency Practicing RNs here.  If you, or anyone you know, may be interested in applying for Emergency Practicing licensure to help in this difficult time, refer to the following criteria. The following Registered Nurse (RN) categories will be eligible for Emergency Practicing licensure:

  • Non-practicing/Retired RNs or NPs in Saskatchewan on the Register of the Association who meet the hourly bylaw requirements;
  • RNs or NPs from another Canadian jurisdiction
  • Graduate Nurses (GN) eligible to write the NCLEX in Saskatchewan;
  • GN eligible to write the NCLEX in another jurisdiction;
  • Retired and/or Non-practicing RNs or NPs in Canada who meet the hourly bylaw requirement;
  • Licensed in good standing; and
  • Meet English language requirements..

The Emergency Practicing license will be valid for 90 days with the possibility of an extension as required.

To apply for an Emergency Practicing license Click Here

If you have any questions, please email: emergencylicense@srna.org

Information for NP Prescribers

In response to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, Health Canada has advised that they have issued exemptions for prescribing controlled substances under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) and its Regulations. The exemptions include:

  • Permit pharmacists to extend prescriptions;
  • Permit pharmacists to transfer prescriptions to other pharmacists; and
  • Permit prescribers to issue verbal orders (i.e. over the phone) to extend or refill a prescription.

In response to the pandemic situation, the SRNA is amending Bylaw VI Subsection 4(5), to facilitate flexibility in the method Nurse Practitioners (NP) prescribe treatment should they determine that it is warranted and in the best interest of the patient.

Other SRNA documents that the NP must reference include the Registered Nurse (Nurse Practitioner) Practice Standards, SRNA 2017Guideline for NP Prescribing Controlled Drugs and Substances, SRNA 2019 and the CNA Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses, 2017.

For more information, please email Susan Furman-Pelzer, Nursing Advisor, PRP at sfurman-pelzer@srna.org

Nurse Practitioners (NP) Limiting Prescriptions

To ensure the continued supply, and to prevent the stockpiling of a prescription medication, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health will require that Saskatchewan pharmacists limit the number and quantity of prescription drug dispenses as follows:

  • Saskatchewan pharmacists may only provide a ONE MONTH supply (to a maximum of a 35-day supply) in a 28-day period for ALL DRUGS NOT ON THE MAINTENANCE DRUG SCHEDULE (i.e., the 100 Day List and the Two Month Drug List).
  • Saskatchewan pharmacists may only provide a TWO MONTH supply in a 55-day period for drugs on the TWO MONTH DRUG LIST.
  • Saskatchewan pharmacists may only provide a 100 DAY supply in a 95-day period for drugs on the 100 DAY LIST.
  • This restriction applies to all prescriptions regardless of whether the patient pays or has a private or public Drug Plan that pays for the prescription.

The Maintenance Drug Schedule can be found on the Saskatchewan Online Formulary: Maintenance Drug Schedule

The letter from the Ministry of Health can be found in full here.

Adhering to the SRNA Registered Nurse Practice Standards and the Canadian Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses. 

RNs, RN(AAP)s and NPs should continue to follow their employer’s standard infection control precautions. They must also adhere to the SRNA Registered Nurse Practice Standards and the Canadian Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses

Standards and Competencies

While there are many Registered Nurses Entry-Level Competencies and Registered Nurse Practice Standards that may apply, the following are a couple of salient statements: 

RNs as coordinators, use knowledge about global health care issues and participate in emergency preparedness and disaster management to optimize client health outcomes at the local level (Registered Nurses Entry-Level Competencies, 5.9 and 9.6). 

RNs demonstrate leadership by advocating for and participating in emergency preparedness planning and working collaboratively with others to develop and implement plans to facilitate the protection of the public (Registered Nurse Practice Standards 47). 

Code of Ethics 

RNs practice in accordance with the current Canadian Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses. The section, “Ethical Considerations for Nurses in a Natural or Human-Made Disaster, Communicable Disease Outbreak or Pandemic” specifically applies ethical principles to a pandemic scenario (CNA, 2017, p.38-40).  

Historically and currently, nurses provide care to those in need, even when providing care puts their own health and life at risk (for example, when they work in war-torn areas, places of poverty, places with poor sanitation, etc.). Nurses also encounter personal risk when providing care for those with a known or unknown communicable or infectious disease. However, disasters and communicable disease outbreaks call for extraordinary effort from all health care personnel, including nurses.  

The Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses states:  

During a natural or human-made disaster, including a communicable disease outbreak, nurses provide care using appropriate safety precautions in accordance with legislation, regulations and guidelines provided by government, regulatory bodies, employers, unions and professional associations. (A9)  

duty to provide care refers to a nurse’s professional obligation to provide persons receiving care with safe, competent, compassionate and ethical care. However, there may be some circumstances in which it is acceptable for a nurse to withdraw from providing care or to refuse to provide care (CRNBC, 2017b; CRNNS, 2014). Unreasonable burden is a concept raised in relation to the duty to provide care and withdrawing from or refusing to provide care. An unreasonable burden may exist when a nurse’s ability to provide safe care and meet professional standards of practice is compromised by unreasonable expectations, lack of resources or ongoing threats to personal and family well-being (CRNBC, 2017b). 

The following criteria could be useful for nurses to consider when contemplating providing care in a disaster or communicable disease outbreak:  

  • The significance of the risk to the person in care if the nurse does not assist;  
  • Whether the nurse’s intervention is directly relevant to preventing harm;  
  • Whether the nurse’s care will probably prevent harm; and  
  • Whether the benefit of the nurse’s intervention outweighs harms the nurse might incur and does not present more than an acceptable risk to the nurse (ANA, 2006).  

When demands on the health care system are excessive, material resources may be in short supply and nurses and other health care providers may be at risk. Nurses have a right to receive truthful and complete information so they can fulfil their duty to provide care. They have a clear understanding about the obligations and expectations around their role. They must also be supported in meeting their own health needs. Nurses’ employers have a reciprocal duty to protect and support them as well as to provide necessary and sufficient protective equipment and supplies that will “maximally minimize risk” to nurses and other health care providers. At the same time, nurses use their professional judgment to select and use the appropriate prevention measures; select, in collaboration with the health care team, the appropriate agency, manufacturer and government guidelines concerning use and fit of personal protective equipment; and advocate for a change when agency, manufacturer or government guidelines do not meet the infection control requirements regarding appropriate use and fit of personal protective equipment (CNO, 2009b).  

Nurses carefully consider their professional role, their duty to provide care and other competing obligations to their own health, to family and to friends. In doing so, they understand the steps they might take both in advance of and during an emergency or pandemic situation so that they are prepared for making ethical decisions (CNA, 2008; Thompson, Faith, Gibson, & Upshur, 2006). Value and responsibility statements in the Code support nurses’ reflection and actions.  

A. In anticipation of the need for nursing care in a disaster or disease outbreak, nurses:  

  • work together with nurse colleagues, unions and joint occupational health and safety committees, and others in positions of leadership to develop emergency response practice guidelines using available resources and guidelines from governments, professional associations and regulatory bodies;  
  • learn about and provide input into the guidelines the region, province or country has established regarding which persons are to receive priority in care (e.g., priority based on greatest need, priority based on the probability of a good outcome, etc.);  
  • learn how support will be provided for those providing care and carrying the physical and moral burden of care;  
  • request and receive regular updates about appropriate safety measures nurses might take to protect and prevent themselves from becoming the victim of a disaster or disease;  
  • assist in developing a fair way to settle conflicts or disputes regarding work exemptions or exemptions from the prophylaxis or vaccination of health care providers; and  
  • help develop ways in which appeals or complaints can be handled within the occupational health and safety framework. 

B. When in the midst of a disaster or disease outbreak, nurses:  

  • refer to regulations and guidelines provided by government, regulatory bodies, employers and professional associations;  
  • help make the fairest decisions possible about the allocation of resources;  
  • help set priorities in as transparent a manner as possible;  
  • provide safe, compassionate, competent and ethical care (in disasters, as much as circumstances permit);  
  • help determine if, when and how nurses may have to decline or withdraw from care; and  
  • advocate for the least restrictive measures possible when a person’s individual rights must be restricted. 

RNs are also encouraged to contact SRNA Practice Consultation with questions or concerns. Consultation is available by: 

Email: practiceadvice@srna.org  

Phone: 1-800-667-9945 


Other Important Information

The Government of Canada has released the following recommendations to public health care professionals: 

Useful resources:  

Government of Saskatchewan (Provincial) 

Public Health Agency of Canada (Federal) 

World Health Organization (WHO) (Global)  

 

Scroll to top
X