RN Conditional Licence Questions and Answers for Employers

If you are an employer who hires new graduates, the following questions and answers (Q&As) for employers outlines your expectation when you employ a registered nurse - conditional licence holder to work in your organization. 

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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.

A registered nurse – conditional licence is issued for a period of four months.

The following conditions and restrictions apply to all registered nurse – conditional licences:

  1. 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
  2. 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)
  3. Not assume the responsibilities of a care area (facility or unit) which would include making client assignments based on client acuity
  4. Not perform delegated functions
  5. Not independently initiate a care directive
  6. For Canadian graduates from out-of-province: notify us of your NCLEX-RN results. 

An applicant must submit these documents to us:

  1. online application and fee
  2. proof of name
  3. Canadian International Criminal Record Checks

Additionally:

  1. an applicant must pass the RN Jurisprudence Examination 
  2. Confirm that the applicant has completed a program:
    1. For NS Graduates: we must receive confirmation from their school of nursing that the student has completed her/his program. The Schools of nursing will email the list of graduates to us as soon as it becomes available.
    2. For graduates of other Canadian nursing programs: they must ask their regulatory body to send this information to NSCN.
    3. for internationally educated nurses (IENS): we will notify them when they are eligible for a registered nurse – 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.

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 the registered nurse – conditional licence holder.

While the condition is meant to ensure that the registered nurse – conditional licence holder is never in a situation where they do not have the ability to reach out to an RN for assistance, the registered nurse – conditional licence holder is still responsible and accountable for their own nursing practice. The RN is not required to co-sign medications, treatments, or documentation of the registered nurse – conditional licence holder.

We anticipate that in most circumstances, this condition will mean there is at least one RN in the same building as the registered nurse – conditional licence holder. 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 the registered nurse – conditional licence  holder has the appropriate onsite access to a RN to ensure patient safety.

A care directive (CD) is an order written by an authorized prescriber for an intervention or series of interventions to be implemented by another care provider (e.g., registered nurse) for a range of clients with identified health conditions, only when specific circumstances exist.

Delegated function is the transferring of responsibility to perform a function or intervention to a care provider who would not otherwise have the authority to perform it. For example, the function/intervention is within the delegating provider’s scope of practice, but not within that of the care provider to whom it is being delegated).

Yes, a registered nurse – conditional licence may be re-issued to individuals who apply and qualify for another four-month registered nurse – conditional licence. However, the licence will not be re-issued 12 months beyond the holder’s date of program completion.

The licence also cannot be re-issued if the holder has failed the NCLEX-RN for the third time.

In the case of third time exam failure, we will contact you as the employer and the registered nurse – conditional licence holder to let you know that the registered nurse – conditional licence is no longer valid.

Yes. While the re-issued registered nurse – conditional licence  will still be issued for a period of four months to a maximum of 12 months from the date the student completed her/his program, a re-issued registered nurse – conditional licence  after an NCLEX-RN failure is subject to the same conditions and restrictions with one additional condition. The registered nurse – conditional licence  holder must have a designated RN on each shift to provide assistance, consultation and guidance.

While this condition is meant to ensure an additional level of support for those registered nurse – conditional licence holders who have failed the NCLEX-RN, the registered nurse – conditional licence  holder is still responsible and accountable for their own nursing practice.

We do not require that the designated RN be responsible for the registered nurse – conditional licence  holder’s work. We do require however, that the designated RN be specifically chosen and identified so that the registered nurse – conditional licence  holder knows who to go to for assistance and guidance in their clinical practice, including when they need to notify their employer of the conditions and restrictions on their licence.

The designated RN should possess the appropriate skills and experience in the relevant clinical area to provide guidance and consultation to the registered nurse – conditional licence holder.

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 the registered nurse – conditional licence holder has access to the appropriate designated RN to ensure patient safety.

After three unsuccessful attempts, this individual is no longer eligible for a registered nurse – conditional licence. 

No. When we are that the holder has failed the NCLEX-RN a third time, the initial registered nurse – conditional licence becomes invalid. 

There are a number of considerations that could disqualify an individual from meeting the requirements necessary to re-issue a registered nurse – conditional licence, including:

  • Failing the NCLEX-RN Exam for the third time
  • Suspended or revoked registered nurse – conditional licence  by a Professional Conduct Committee
  • Being issued an active practising licence
  • More than 12 months have passed since they completed the requirements of their nursing program. For IENs: 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 within 5 business days, although it is often sooner.

The registered nurse – conditional licence will continue to be valid until it reaches its expiry date, unless the holder registers and is issued an RN practicing licence. The registered nurse – conditional licence  holder must apply for an RN practising licence before their registered nurse – conditional licence  expires in order to continue practising without interruption.

A Registered Nurse - Conditional Licence holder may use the following designations: 

  • Registered Nurse pending 
  • RN pending 
  • R.N. pending 
     

If you have any questions, reach out to us at registration@nscn.ca. We will respond within 5 business days.