Licence Nurses

All licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners who practise nursing in Nova Scotia are registrants of the Nova Scotia College of Nursing. 

One of the ways we protect the public is to ensure that those who wish to practice as a nurse in Nova Scotia are qualified and competent to do so. To become registered and licensed, an applicant must meet all of our licence requirements.    

We are committed to being transparent, accountable and efficient in our registration processes so every eligible LPN, RN and NP is able to practise nursing in Nova Scotia. As NSCN, we pride ourselves on our customer service and in being available to answer any question or concerns you might have. Please feel free to reach to out to us by email, phone or in person to connect with one of our qualified members of the team. 


As a nursing regulator, we license thousands of LPNs, RNs and NPs of different ages, practice settings, geography and job status to create a diverse and competent nursing workforce in Nova Scotia. Our role is to protect the public by licensing only those individuals who meet the criteria set by us, registration best practice, the Nursing Act and other legislation. 

As of the start of our licensure year on November 1, 2021 we issued licences to:

Licensed Practical Nurses 4,852
Registered Nurses   10,795
Nurse Practitioners  289

Two Categories of Licence for all nurses

In order to practice as a nurse in Nova Scotia, applicants must first qualify for registration, and then for a category of licence. 

Registration is granted to those individuals who are able to meet the applicable entry to practice requirements. Once registered, a registrant must then qualify for a licence in order to practice nursing. A nursing licence must be renewed on an annual basis.

What is the Purpose of a Category of Licence?

The category of licence demonstrates who:

  • has met the requirements to practice nursing in Nova Scotia;
  • is able to legally practise nursing; and 
  • is able to legally use protected titles.

What Categories of Licence does NSCN Grant?

The Nursing Act creates two categories of licence – practising and conditional – for each designation. In order for a registrant to practise nursing, they must qualify for either a practising licence or a conditional licence.

Practising Licences

Registrants who demonstrate that they meet all of the relevant licensing requirements for a designation will be issued a practising licence under the appropriate register (LPN practising, RN practising or NP practising).  For those applicants seeking a NP practising licence, they must first hold a current RN practising licence. Practising licences do not impose any conditions or restrictions on the registrant’s ability to practise nursing.

Conditional Licences

Registrants who do not meet all of the requirements for a practising licence, or have conditions and/or restrictions on their practice may be issued a conditional licence under the appropriate register if the CEO believes it is consistent with the objects of the College to do so (LPN conditional, RN conditional or NP conditional). 

Conditional licences impose conditions and/or restrictions on the registrant’s ability to practise nursing. Once these conditions and/or restrictions are fulfilled, expired or removed, the registrant may qualify for a practising licence.

The new categories of licence will appear as:

  1. licensed practical nurse - practising;
  2. licensed practical nurse - conditional;
  3. nurse practitioner - practising;
  4. nurse practitioner - conditional;
  5. registered nurse - practising;
  6. registered nurse - conditional

Search for a Nurse

Every nurse registered to practice in Nova Scotia has a profile on Search for a Nurse. Search for a Nurse is an easy-to-use online tool that provides useful information to the public about nurses in Nova Scotia. It allows you to identify and verify the status of an LPN, RN, NP and temporary license holder and to see if the nurse has any conditions or restrictions on their license. You can search for information by using first name, last name, and/or registration number.

Details about the information contained on Search for a Nurse are available here.