NSCN Streamlines Registration and Licensing Processes for Nurses

Nurse with patient
October 20, 2022

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA - As Nova Scotia’s nursing regulator, the Nova Scotia College of Nursing’s (NSCN) role is to ensure that all nurses providing nursing services for Nova Scotians are qualified to do so. The public depends on NSCN to ensure that licenses are granted to those who meet registration requirements and demonstrate they have the knowledge, skill, and competence required to safely and ethically practice as a nurse.

NSCN continues to comprehensively review all registration and licensing processes and requirements to ensure they are relevant, flexible and positively contribute to the supply of nurses. In early 2023, NSCN is introducing a streamlined application process for nurses licensed in other Canadian jurisdictions who are looking to practice in Nova Scotia. NSCN will promote the mobility of nurses by creating innovative solutions to enable faster licensure. Changes to this process include:

  • Issuing conditional registration and licensure immediately if certain requirements are met, including the nurse holding a full practising licence in another Canadian jurisdiction
  • Changing the timing of requirements that cause the most frequent delays to allow expedited conditional registration and licensure
  • Promoting efficiencies by recognizing the safeguards established by the nurse’s current regulator
  • Removing or reducing some documentation requirements, such as identification documents or employer statements, which would have already been checked by the nurse’s regulator in their home jurisdiction

These changes will ensure the application process is more efficient and will allow applicants to receive their licence quicker while simultaneously meeting Nursing Act requirements and NSCN’s legislated mandate to protect the public.

“One of NSCN’s key priorities has been to evolve our registration and licensing processes to assist with the supply of nurses,” says Sue Smith, CEO and Registrar of the Nova Scotia College of Nursing. “We are pleased to introduce this streamlined process to help ease movement between provinces for nurses practising in Canada who are looking to receive registration and licensure in Nova Scotia, which will support our health care system.”

In addition to this work, NSCN has continued streamlining registration and licensing processes for internationally educated nurses (IENs). This work has further reduced the time it takes qualified IENs to receive a nursing license and provide safe and quality nursing care to Nova Scotians.

To date, NSCN has made changes in five key areas for IENs:

  • Adding more options to meet the English language proficiency registration requirement
  • Providing earlier access to the National Registration Exam
  • Authorizing earlier entry to practice
  • Authorizing earlier return to practice
  • Policy and process changes

“We are confident that these ongoing initiatives and our continued innovation to streamline processes will support our ability to register and licence more nurses in Nova Scotia and ensure they are qualified and prepared to provide safe, competent, ethical and compassionate nursing care to Nova Scotians,” says Sue Smith. 


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