Currency of Practice

You are required meet the Currency of Practice requirement to become licensed as a nurse in Nova Scotia. The currency of practice requirement is important because it means you have recent practice or recently completed nursing education and are connected to nursing practice. The currency of practice requirement is just one of several licensure requirements.

You must meet one or more of the following currency of practice options to be eligible for registration and/or licensure in Nova Scotia:

  • Current licensure in another Canadian jurisdiction in the same designation you are applying for (This option is only available when you apply for registration and an initial practising licence with NSCN.)
  • Current licensure as an RN in another jurisdiction as designated by the CEO, including the Philippines, Nigeria, India, US, UK, Australia or New Zealand. (This option is only available to RN applicants who are applying for registration and an initial practising licence with NSCN.)*
  • Practice no later than three licensing years prior to your application
  • Practice a minimum of 320 hours of practice no later than five licensing years prior to your application
  • Passed the registration exam no later than three licensing years prior to your application
  • Successfully completed a re-entry program, bridging education, or entry-level nursing program, no later than five licensing years prior to your application
  • Successfully completed a competence assessment and bridging education no later than five licensing years prior to your application

*LPN and RN applicants who do not meet any of the above currency options and have not practiced in the last 10 licensing years are not eligible for a conditional licence and must successfully pass the require registration exam to qualify for a practicing licence.

*LPN and RN applicants who do not meet any of the above currency options but have practised within the last 10 licensing years may be eligible for a conditional licence with conditions and restrictions.

*Effective January 2, 2024, RN applicants who have passed the NCLEX exam more than 3 years ago and have not worked as an RN in the last 10 licensing years will be required to complete a competence assessment and bridging education or a nursing re-entry program, unless they meet one of the other currency of practice options.

Answering the Currency of Practice Questions on Your Application for Licensure

When answering the currency of practice questions, please remember that the NSCN licensure year runs from November 1 and October 31. For example, the 2022 licensure year ran from November 1, 2021, to October 31, 2022.

Hours that can be considered in your calculations:

  1. Hours accumulated in orientation
  2. Actual hours worked as a nurse (note: overtime hours are considered one practice hour)

Hours that should be excluded from your calculations:

  1. Hours you are paid while off on vacation, sick leave, long-term sickness/injury or maternity leave.
  2. Hours worked as another health care provider (e.g. any CCA hours cannot count toward LPN or RN licensure). 
  3. Hours worked in another nursing designation (e.g., LPN practice hours cannot be considered when completing your RN application for licensure, RN practice hours cannot be considered when completing your NP application for licensure).
  4. Volunteer hours.
  5. Hours spent in nursing education.

NOTE: You are required to keep a record of all the hours you have worked in the past in case you are audited by NSCN.

How to Change My Reported Practice Hours

How to Re-Establish Currency of Practice 

If you do not meet one of the currency of practice options, you must re-establish your currency of practice to become licensed in Nova Scotia.  There are two ways in which you can do this:

  1. Complete a re-entry education program for your designation. Learn more about LPN re-entry programs here and RN re-entry programs here.
  2. Complete a competence assessment and successfully complete any required bridging education up to and including a full nursing re-entry program. 

As a nurse practitioner, you must meet one of the following currency of practice options to be eligible for registration and/or licensure in Nova Scotia:

  • Current licensure as an NP in a Canadian jurisdiction (This option is only available when you apply for registration and an initial practising licence with NSCN)
  • Practice as an NP no later than three licensing years prior to your application
  • Passed the NP registration exam no later than three licensing years prior to your application

How to Change My Reported Practice Hours

  • If you are requesting to adjust your practice hours for a year other than the previous licensing year, you must have your employer submit a letter confirming your nursing practice hours directly to us at registration@nscn.ca.

How to Re-Establish Currency of Practice 

The term “nursing services” means the application of specialized and evidence-based knowledge of nursing theory, health and biological, physical, behavioural, psychosocial or sociological sciences inclusive of principles of primary health care, in a variety of roles including clinical services to clients, research, education, consultation, management, administration, regulation, policy or system development relevant to such application, and such other services, roles, functions, competencies and activities for each nursing designation that are related to and consistent with the foregoing, including those: 

  1. described in Section 174 or prescribed by the regulations
  2. taught in an approved education program
  3. authorized for practice under federal or Provincial legislation
  4. generally accepted as constituting the practice of nursing

Nursing practice occurs in a variety of roles and settings. To practice as a nurse in Nova Scotia, you must be registered and hold a current license with NSCN. Only hours accumulated in a role that requires nursing knowledge, education, and meets the legal definition of nursing services can be counted towards your nursing practice hours. The below assessment tool will assist you in determining if you can count your practice hours as nursing practice or if you need additional clarity from NSCN on your individual role.

Nursing Practice Hours Assessment Tool

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at registration@nscn.ca. We strive to respond to you as soon as possible. However, due to the high volumes of emails and complexity of inquiries, our response time may vary.  

Please be advised that registration requirements and fees are subject to change. All registration and licensure fees are non-refundable. Click here to learn more about fees and payment options