Nurse Manager Hiring an International Nurse New to Nova Scotia

I am a nurse manager hiring an international nurse who is new to Nova Scotia. What should I consider?

Nurses new to Nova Scotia (NS) have unique needs and may require additional support as they transition to practice in NS and the health care system. Supportive practice environments are integral for new nurses to feel welcome, safe, valued, respected and nurtured to provide safe, competent, and ethical health care. Nurses new to and working in NS are accountable to practice in accordance with the professional scope of practice for their designation, their individual competence, the standards of practice, the code of ethics and within the conditions and restrictions applied to their license.

International nurses who have obtained a conditional license will have conditions and restrictions applied to their license. The conditions and restrictions are in place as a safeguard intended to allow time for the nurse to become oriented to the NS health care system and support the nurse in their transition. It is important you are familiar with these conditions and restrictions and support the nurse to work within these boundaries.

Your accountabilities as a nurse manager are to:
  • Recognize the unique needs of nurses new to NS and the health system.
  • Ensure that nurses are supported to work within their role, scope of practice, individual competence and conditions of their license.
  • Provide essential support systems, including preceptors, mentors and material resources to support the transition that allows the nurses to meet their standards of practice.
  • Create an environment that encourages nurses to ask questions and engage in reflective practice.
  • Promote a culture that creates trust and mutual respect to flourish among team members.
  • Address all professional practice issues or employment issues that have been brought to your attention.

International nurses who are new to NS will bring with them unique professional practice experiences. They may require support to adjust to the Canadian context of practice as they adjust to their new professional and personal roles.

Consider engaging in the following actions as you support the transition of international nurses new to NS into your staffing mix:
  • Provide an appropriate orientation to meet the needs of the nurse and identify further resources needed if the orientation required is longer than anticipated.
  • Clearly identify and communicate the expectations of the role and responsibilities for the new nurse.
  • Arrange for any education and clinical experiences for the nurse to build their competencies, confidence and apply their knowledge and skills, including leadership and collaboration.
  • Consider the competencies and transition period of the nurse and other staff to ensure appropriate staffing and when determining client assignments.
  • Recognize even if the nurse has met the English Language Proficiency requirements, adjusting to new diverse accents/dialects and conversational language may be stressful and support may be required.
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For further information on anything contained within this practice support tool, please contact an NSCN Practice Consultant at

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