New Roles in Health Care

One of the key components of the HealthForceOntario strategy involves establishing innovative new health care professional roles in areas of high need.

New Roles for Nurses

Nurse Performed Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
A registered nurse with extended specialized education in anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology who works with a physician to perform flexible sigmoidoscopies (i.e., diagnostic procedure used to screen for abnormalities in the lower third of the colon). These individuals can support Ontario’s colon cancer screening initiative.

Surgical First Assist
A Surgical First Assist works with the surgeon and the rest of the operating room team to ensure the safe outcome for a surgical patient before, during and after surgery. A registered nurse can perform this role with an additional certification in surgical first assistance.

Registered Nurse: Surgical First Assist (RN-SFA) Pilot Project Update

New Roles for Other Health Professions

Physician Assistant
The Physician Assistant (PA) in Ontario assists a supervising physician to deliver medical services within patient care teams in various settings. Under direction of the supervising physician, these services may include conducting patient interviews, medical histories, physical examinations; performing selected diagnostic or therapeutic tests and interventions; and counselling patients on preventive health care.  

Clinical Specialist Radiation Therapist
The Clinical Specialist Radiation Therapist (CSRT) is a medical radiation technologist (radiation therapist) with advanced clinical competencies. The CSRT works in collaboration with radiation oncologists, specialist nurses, medical physicists and other team members to ensure safe and optimal patient outcomes in radiation treatment cancer care settings. This role is designed to improve system efficiency and contribute to improved access of Ontarians to cancer care.

Anesthesia Assistant
The Anesthesia Assistant participates in the care of the stable surgical patient during anesthesia, under medical directives and the supervision of the anesthesiologist. Respiratory therapists and registered nurses who successfully complete the program can work in anesthesia departments as part of an anesthesia care team.