By-Law Amendment to Part VII, Section 28: Code Of Ethics, Standards And Competencies

Consultation Type:

Consultation Overview

On September 1 2020, NSCN is introducing the 2020 Entry-Level Competencies for the Practice of Registered Nurses. As a result, the NSCN Board must amend By-Law Part VII, Section 28 (8): Code of Ethics, Standards and Competencies in order to adopt the new entry-level competencies in Nova Scotia.   

To participate in this consultation, please review the proposed By-Law amendment below and email NSCN if you have any feedback.

Background on the Initiative

In 2017, the former legacy College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia began the work to update the entry-level competencies (ELCs) for registered nurses (RNs) in collaboration with a national working group representing all RN regulators in Canada.  

The entry-level competencies are the knowledge, skills and judgment expected of RNs at the time of initial licensure and throughout their career, as guided by the specific context of their role and position. The ELCs are also used to shape nursing education programs by ensuring nursing students have the necessary competencies to provide safe, competent care upon graduation. Updated ELCs are introduced approximately every five years to reflect new and emerging developments in health care and nursing practice.

The development of the 2020 ELCs for RNs involved extensive consultation, including:

  • National and provincial consultation focus groups in 2017 with key stakeholders, such as educators, employers, new graduates and practicing RNs to determine which areas of the ELCs required revisions.
  • The use of a subject matter expert group from 2017-18 to revise existing competencies and develop new ones based on the information collected in the consultation phase
  • Webinars and surveys to refine and validate the revisions of the ELCs in 2018. Almost 10,000 nurses completed the survey nationally. In Nova Scotia, 1,096 nurses participated in the survey, reflecting an 11% response rate.
  • Consultation meetings from 2017-20 with the schools of nursing in Nova Scotia as a key stakeholder in this work.

Key changes to the 2020 ELCs for RNs include a transition to a roles-based format and the addition of new competencies to reflect changes in the nursing profession, including:

  • Trend towards greater acuity patients
  • Use of social media, smart phones and technology
  • Additional focus on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and medical assistance in dying (MAiD).

The legacy Board of the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia approved the 2020 ELCs for RNs prior to NSCN proclamation. NSCN will introduce the 2020 ELCs for RNs on September 1, 2020. Click here to view the finalized 2020 ELCs for RNs.

Proposed By-Law Amendment

NSCN proposes that the current Section 28(8) of the NSCN By-Laws (page 13) be amended to indicate the adoption of the 2020 ELCs for RNs in Nova Scotia:  

8. The entry level competencies for Registered Nurses is the 2020 Entry-Level Competencies for the Practice of Registered Nurses in Nova Scotia developed by the Nova Scotia College of Nursing.

Join the Conversation

If you have feedback regarding the proposed amendment to the By-Law, please email Jennifer Best, NSCN Practice Consultant, at by August 14, 2020.

Consultation Next Steps

NSCN will share the by-law feedback with the NSCN Board for their consideration, prior to their vote on whether to approve the amendment to the by-law. If the amendment is approved, an updated By-Laws document will be posted on the website.   

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