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Who and Why?

Assessment Centre General Information

Why and Who?

The following information explains why a competence assessment is done and who can participate in a competence assessment.

A nursing competence assessment gives the nurse and the RN Regulatory Body or employer a full assessment of the nurse’s knowledge, skills and abilities to practice nursing in Canada.

The role of a RN regulatory body is to protect the public; preserve the integrity of the nursing profession; maintain public confidence in the ability of the nursing profession to regulate itself; and regulate the practice of registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs).

The three RN regulatory bodies in the Maritime Provinces are the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia, the Association of Registered Nurses of Prince Edward Island and the Nurses Association of New Brunswick.

To be "competent" one must be able to apply nursing knowledge, skills and abilities to the performance standard that is expected in the workplace. A competence assessment involves collecting evidence and making judgments about whether competence has been achieved. A competence assessment is about confirming that an individual can perform to the acceptable standard of performance (e.g., the entry-level competencies of the Registered Nurse). This is not a pass/fail assessment but a measure of the nurse’s actual ability to practice nursing safely in Canada.

Nurses educated as RNs are referred to the Assessment Centre by the RN Regulatory Body or an employer. The following list describes the appropriate candidates for a competence assessment:

Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) seeking licensure through a RN regulatory body in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or New Brunswick. A competence assessment is required if the RN regulatory body determines that the nurse's initial nursing education was not the same as current Canadian nursing education. The competence assessment gives the nurse the opportunity to demonstrate that he or she has gained the knowledge, skills and abilities to practice nursing in Canada through his or her work experience. A competence assessment may be completed on any type of immigration permit (e.g., visitor, temporary, permanent).

Canadian-educated RNs or IENs licensed as RNs having conduct/competence concerns in the practice setting in Nova Scotia. A competence assessment may be needed if an employer or the RN regulatory body has concerns about a RN's ability to practice nursing safely and competently.