Continuing Competence Program Questions and Answers

Have a question about the 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. For general information about the Continuing Competence Program, please click here.

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 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.

Professional Growth Plan Questions and Answers

This is a process to determine your areas of strength and identify any learning needs through self-assessment. 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-assessment is confidential and should not be submitted with your professional growth plan.

Professional Growth 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. 

Professional Growth 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 professional growth plan in order to meet the program requirement.

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

Professional growth activities must correspond with the licensing year’s audit. If they do not, the professional growth 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 professional growth plan requirement. Education other than BScN or MN education can be used to inform your professional growth plan, as long as it is specific to nursing and your standards of practice.

No. Do not send certificates with your professional growth 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 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 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 to discuss your unique situation.

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