If you are a new graduate or internationally educated nurse who wishes to apply for a conditional licence, the following questions and answers (Q&As) will help guide you through the process.
Note: These Q&As are specific to the RN conditional licence application process. In previous years, a conditional licence was called a temporary licence.
The following individuals may be issued a registered nurse – conditional licence:
- graduates from NS and other Canadian jurisdictions who have completed all nursing program requirements but have either not taken the NCLEX-RN examination or have not passed the examination on their first or second attempt
- graduates from a nursing program outside of Canada who are deemed by the NSCN to be eligible to either take the NCLEX-RN examination or have not passed the examination on their first or second attempt.
You must submit the following 6 components before being issued an registered nurse – conditional licence:
- Registered Nurse – Conditional Licence Application
- Application fee
- Proof of name (birth and marriage certificate, if applicable) and government issued photo ID (passport, driver’s licence, student ID card)
- Passing score on the RN Jurisprudence Exam
- Canadian and International Criminal Record Checks
- Confirmation that you have completed a program:
- For graduates of Nova Scotia nursing education program, your school will send confirmation directly to NSCN.
- For out-of-province graduates, you need to request that the regulatory body in the jurisdiction where you completed your program sent this information directly to NSCN.
- For internationally educated nurses, NSCN will inform you when you are eligible for a conditional licence.
We will send you an email when we have processed your licence. You can also Search for a Nurse. All registered nurse – conditional licence holders’ names will appear on this list as soon as the conditional licence is processed.
Yes, in fact we encourage it. The key to getting a registered nurse – conditional licence processed in a timely manner is to submit a completed application package to us in advance of your school submitting a confirmation of program completion.
A registered nurse – conditional licence is issued for a period of four months and is issued with conditions and restrictions.
As part of the conditions and restrictions, a registered nurse – conditional licence holder must:
- Have on-site access to an RN for assistance and consultation. However, if you have failed the NCLEX, you must have access to a designated RN for assistance and consultation
- In the event that you fail the NCLEX-RN, you must notify your employer of the change in your conditions and restrictions identified in a)
- Not assume the responsibilities of a care area (facility or unit) which would include making client assignments based on client acuity
- Not perform delegated functions
- Not independently initiate a care directive
- Notify us of your NCLEX-RN results if you are a Canadian graduate from outside Nova Scotia
The purpose of this condition is to ensure that the registered nurse – conditional licence holder has access to a licenced RN for assistance and consultation in their clinical practice.
While the condition is meant to ensure that you are never in a situation where they do not have the ability to reach out to an RN for assistance, you are still responsible and accountable for their own nursing practice.
We define “onsite access” as having another RN in close physical proximity to the registered nurse – conditional licence holder. The intention is that in the event of an emergency, the RN can be available to assist you.
We anticipate that in most circumstances, this condition will mean there is at least one RN in the same building as you. However because health care settings have varying physical configurations, patient populations and staffing needs, it is ultimately up to the employer to decide how to ensure that you have the appropriate onsite access to a RN to ensure patient safety.
The purpose of this condition is to ensure that you have access to a specific, pre-identified RN to provide assistance and consultation in your clinical practice should the need arise.
While the condition is meant to ensure an additional level of support if you fail the NCLEX-RN, you are still responsible and accountable for your own nursing practice including notifying your employer of the conditions and restrictions on your licence.
We do not require that the designated RN be responsible for your work. However, we do require that the designated RN be specifically chosen and identified so that you know who to go to for assistance and guidance in their clinical practice. The designated RN should possess the appropriate skills and experience in the relevant clinical area to provide guidance and consultation to you during work.
We do not require that the designated RN be above complement or be only one person. However, because health care settings have varying configurations, patient populations and staffing needs, it is ultimately up to the employer to ensure that you has access to the appropriate designated RN to ensure patient safety.
Yes, a registered nurse – conditional licence may be re-issued to individuals who apply and qualify for another four-month registered nurse – conditional licence to a maximum of 12 months from the date that the nurse has completed the requirements of their nursing program.
The “date a graduate completes the requirements of their nursing program” is defined as:
• For Nova Scotia graduates: from the date we receive the list of confirmed graduates from the Nova Scotia schools of nursing
• For out-of-province graduates: from the date the regulatory body or school of nursing indicates you met all requirements of your nursing program.
• For internationally educated nurses: from the date you were informed of your eligibility to write the NCLEX-RN Exam.
A registered nurse – conditional licence will not be issued after third failure of the NCLEX-RN Exam, with the exception of extenuating circumstances (see below for more information).
No. The initial registered nurse – conditional licence is invalid when it expires. Employment cannot resume until we re-issue you a registered nurse – conditional licence.
If you don’t pass the NCLEX-RN on your third attempt, you must stop working immediately. We will contact your employer to let them know that your registered nurse – conditional licence is no longer valid.
You may have a registered nurse – conditional licence re-issued to you until the earliest of the following:
- three fails of the NCLEX-RN or
- 12 months have passed since you completed the requirements of your nursing program. For IENs, it is more than 12 months following eligibility to take the NCLEX-RN Exam.
You will be disqualified if more than 12 months have passed since you completed the requirements of your nursing program. For IENs, it is more than 12 months following eligibility to take the NCLEX-RN Exam.
If approved, the four-month registered nurse – conditional licence will be re-issued five business days, although it is often sooner.
In extenuating circumstances, we may re-issue you a registered nurse – conditional licence after you fail the NCLEX three times. Some examples of extenuating circumstances include:
- Extraordinary circumstances that you could not have predicted would occur or was unable to fully comprehend at the time of attempting the examination
- Medical or other unexpected incidents occurring during the course of the exam
- A condition, disorder or disability of which you were not aware of that required medication and/or other treatment
- Accommodation to allow you a fair chance to attempt the examination and demonstrate your knowledge, skill and judgement.
If you believe you qualify for extenuating circumstances, you can send a letter or email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include:
- The date of the exam attempt during which you felt you experienced extenuating circumstances and
- Evidence to justify your request.
The registered nurse – conditional licence will continue to be valid until it reaches its expiry date or you register and licence as an RN. You are eligible to apply for an active-practising licence at any time but you must do so before your registered nurse – conditional licence expires in order to continue practising without interruptions.
Information on how to register and license will be included in the letter that you will receive once you have passed the NCLEX-RN Exam.