From left, Premier Tim Houston, Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson, (Communications N.S. Photo)

From a release

HALIFAX: The government has provided one-time funding of $340,000 to the Nova Scotia College of Nursing to support the ongoing and comprehensive review of the registration and licensing process for internationally educated nurses.

The review will look at how the existing process can be further streamlined to help internationally educated nurses receive their licence sooner. The funding will also be used to hire new staff to support this work.

“The demand for healthcare professionals, including nurses, has increased since the pandemic started, with all jurisdictions competing to attract these highly skilled workers,” said Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness.

“Today’s announcement builds upon other important initiatives to secure and retain nurses throughout Nova Scotia, including the government’s commitment to fund 200 new nursing seats and guarantee every nurse graduate over the next five years a full-time job.”

The Nova Scotia College of Nursing has already taken steps this year to make registration and licensing more efficient, and the number of internationally educated nurses is up significantly. So far in 2022, more than 210 nurses have obtained their licence, about 60 more than in all of 2021.

Changes by the college include:
— adding more options for internationally educated nurses to meet the English language proficiency registration requirement
— providing earlier access to the national registration exam
— allowing earlier entry and return to practice
— streamlining and reducing the documentation required of internationally educated nurses
— providing conditional licences to nurses already registered, licensed and in good standing elsewhere in Canada, which allows them to enter practice while completing the remaining registration requirements.

“NSCN is pleased to receive funding from the provincial nursing strategy to support our work to continue to evaluate and change the registration and licensure processes to reduce the time it takes for qualified internationally educated nurses to receive a nursing licence. We are committed to continuing to conduct a detailed assessment of the unique circumstances of each applicant because there is no one-size-fits-all solution. While we are very pleased with the changes we have made to our policies thus far, we are committed to continuing to evaluate our policies to make sure they are relevant, flexible and positively contribute to the supply of nurses, while simultaneously meeting NSCN’s legislated mandate to protect the public.”
– Sue Smith, CEO and Registrar, Nova Scotia College of Nursing

Quick Facts:
— the funding was provided in June and comes from Nova Scotia’s Nursing Strategy
— currently, there are 185 internationally educated nurse applicants in the registration and licensing process
— on average, the Nova Scotia College of Nursing has licensed about 140 internationally educated nurses annually; the number was 152 in 2021
— in June, the Province, working in collaboration with Cape Breton University and St. Francis Xavier University, expanded eligibility criteria for licensed practical nurses to become registered nurses more quickly
— in July, the Province announced the addition of 200 new nursing seats at post-secondary institutions