The journey to the Nova Scotia College of Nursing (NSCN) gained momentum in 2016, when the Board of the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia (CLPNNS) and the Council of the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia (CRNNS) voted in favour of the creation of one nursing regulator in Nova Scotia. This landmark decision would see the dissolution of the two existing Colleges and clear the path for one organization to oversee the regulation of licensed practical nurses (LPNs), registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) for the first time in our province.
Inspiration Behind NSCN? The Public.
Before June 4, 2019, the regulation of nursing was enshrined in two different Acts and was the responsibility of two separate and distinct regulators. The College of Licensed Practice Nurses of Nova Scotia (CLPNNS) regulated the practice of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia (CRNNS) regulated the practice of registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs). The discussion about the possibility of co-creating one nursing regulator in Nova Scotia began with a question by a public representative on the CLPNNS Board who asked whether the public could be better served by one nursing regulator as opposed to two. Both Colleges had similar mandates, performed similar functions in almost all facets of operations and have the same stakeholders. After much analysis, it was determined that co-creating one nursing regulator would enhance the work the Nova Scotia College of Nursing would do on behalf of the public.
New College. New Act.
NSCN receives authority through the Nursing Act, which was proclaimed effective by government on June 4, 2019. The Nursing Act presents an innovative and nimble approach to nursing regulation in Nova Scotia. It enables nurses to work to their full scope of practice, it facilitates “red tape” reduction, and it epitomizes the type of collaboration among health care professionals that is necessary for Nova Scotia and the future of health care in our province.
What is New in the Nursing Act? Greater Flexibility.
The new legislation required for NSCN presents an innovative and flexible approach to nursing regulation that:
- allows the creation of one nursing regulator in Nova Scotia, giving one body the authority to regulate all nursing designations in our province,
- ensurses that the public interest is maintained as NSCN’s top priority,
- enables NSCN to remain current, relevant and nimble.
The Benefits of One Nursing Regulator: Nova Scotians Top Priority
The creation of NSCN as one nursing regulator for all nursing designations benefits the public in many ways, including provision a single point of access for the public, nurses, unions, employers and government. Benefits include:
- A single point of access and a streamlined process for applicants for registration regardless of nursing designation;
- A single point of access for potential employers for licence verification;
- A single point of access for the public regarding the submission of complaints;
- A single point of access for data respecting the three nursing designations in Nova Scotia, which can be used to inform health policy and government initiatives;
- One nursing regulatory voice to be responsive to stakeholders in order to regulate the provision of nursing services in the public interest;
- The opportunity to enable nurses with the requisite qualifications to work within the full scope of practice of the collective nursing profession;
- The opportunity for other nursing professionals such as registered psychiatric nurses to potentially work within Nova Scotia and to fill gaps in the provision of mental health services;
- Greater efficiencies and effectiveness in the delivery of the nursing regulatory mandate;
- A more holistic and strategic approach to nursing self-regulation; and
- A collaborative approach to the provision of nursing services by all three nursing designations.
Stakeholder Feedback: Influences Development of Legislation
All stakeholders associated with NSCN including members of the public and nurses across Nova Scotia have been integral to the process of creating one nursing regulator. There has been significant consultative effort throughout the journey to create NSCN, dating back to 2016, and we are proud to say that over 4,000 stakeholders provided feedback throughout development of the Nursing Act.
To access the reports featuring stakeholder feedback, please click on the following:
• Building a New Future Together: A Legislative Consultation Report for One Nursing Regulator in Nova Scotia (2017)
• Inspiring the Next Phase Forward: A Legislative Consultation Report for One Nursing Regulator (2018)
• From Concept to Creation: A Legislative Consultation Report for One Nursing Regulator (2019)