Continuing Competence Program Questions and Answers

Have a question about the interim Continuing Competence Program (CCP)? The quickest way to get a response is by reading the questions and answers below. These questions reflect the most popular inquiries received from nurses over the past several years. 

If you have a question that is specific to the LPN or RN/NP program, visit their individual page:

General Program Questions and Answers

Continuing competence programs are considered best practice and they are not new or unique to nursing. Most regulated health professions in Canada have a competence program. 

As self-regulated professionals, nurses are accountable to maintain their competence throughout their nursing career to ensure they are prepared to provide safe and competent nursing services. A competence program is one regulatory mechanism to capture this work. 

The Nursing Act requires NSCN to have a competence program as well as requires nurses in Nova Scotia to participate in the program. Participation in CCP became an annual licensure requirement for RNs and NPs in 2002 and the verification process began in 2017. LPNs were first required to participate in CCP in 2010 and the first audit was conducted in 2012.

If you do not participate, you will qualify for a one time, time-limited licence for up to three months to give you time to complete the CCP requirements. This licence cannot be renewed or extended. 

If you do not complete the CCP requirements before the licence expires, you will not be authorized to practise nursing and cannot work as a nurse in Nova Scotia.

Yes. However, there is no need to repeat the work you have already completed. Reach out to us at ccp@nscn.ca to discuss your options. You may be able to use all or parts of your existing work.  If you have to complete additional work, you will need to indicate on your renewal or application form that you have done so.  

No. Mandatory education is not a requirement of CCP every year. NSCN will notify all registrants well in advance when mandatory education is required as part of CCP. There is no mandatory education requirement at this time.

Learning Plan Questions and Answers

This is a process to determine your areas of strength and identify any learning needs through self-reflection. In our evolving health care system, nurses must continually enhance and expand their knowledge and skills to maintain the level of competence required for their role.

No. Your self-reflection and assessment are confidential and should not be submitted with your learning plan.

Learning plans help individuals reflect on their practice and assess their knowledge needs against their standards of practice. Knowledge is a critical component of competence and learning plans are considered best practice as a way to develop meaningful strategies to address gaps or increase your knowledge base. 

Learning plans have been a part of the CCP programs since they first began at the legacy Colleges, in 2002 and 2010 respectively.

Yes. Each year, all nurses are required to develop a learning plan in order to meet the program requirement.

Yes. You are required to develop a plan every year you hold a licence. 

Learning activities must correspond with the licensing year’s audit. If they do not, the learning plan will not meet the CCP requirements.

Yes. Your completion of approved nursing education (BScN or MN programs only) can be used to satisfy your learning plan requirement. Education other than BScN or MN education can be used to inform your learning plan, as long as it is specific to nursing and your standards of practice.

No. Do not send certificates with your learning plan unless we request these documents. Keep them in your personal files at home.

Participation Questions and Answers

You will need to reflect on your past nursing practice and your anticipated learning needs for the future. When we reinstate your licence, you will begin participation in CCP. You will be expected to have your CCP documents completed by the next registration renewal date.

Yes. Please reach out to us at ccp@nscn.ca for support and guidance as you begin to develop your learning plan. 

If you hold a licence to practise nursing, you can return to practice at any time. We need to know you have remained current in your knowledge if you are eligible to return to practice.

You can stay engaged in practice by reading nursing journals, completing online learning courses or participating in other continuing education opportunities. 

Yes. When you get your initial licensure as a nurse, you will begin participating in CCP. You will be expected to have your CCP documents completed by the next registration renewal date. 

However, you may be exempt from the audit for a maximum of one year. Please reach out to us at ccp@nscn.ca to review your unique situation.

Yes. Every nurse is required to participate in CCP if they hold a licence to practise nursing, regardless of employment status or the number of hours worked each year.

These situations are assessed on an individual basis. Please reach out to us at ccp@nscn.ca to discuss your unique situation.

Licensure Questions and Answers

You will receive a time limited licence if you do not indicate on your renewal form that you developed a learning plan for the upcoming year or if you do not submit your learning plan to NSCN as part of the audit, as requested. 

While there is no restriction on your practice during this time, the licence will expire after either the three-month expiry date or the last day of the licensure year (whichever comes first). 

No. This licence cannot be extended or re-issued.

No. Doing so may be considered professional misconduct.

You must provide us with proof that you completed all the requirements of CCP.

Have a Question?

Have you checked out the CCP steps for your designation or reviewed the program tools yet? Visit the CCP for LPNs page, CCP for RNs and NPs or download the CCP Guide for Nurses for more detailed information.  

If you cannot find the answer to your question, please reach out to us at ccp@nscn.ca.