Tomorrow, August 12 2014, is a much awaited date, for Internationally Educated Nurses. It is the start of a whole new approach to becoming registered in Canada for both LPNs/ RPNs and RNs with the dawning of the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS). Announced in November, 2014, the NNAS is:
a non-profit organization comprised of the 22 member boards of all licensed practical nurse (LPN) (registered practical nurse in Ontario), registered nurse (RN), and registered psychiatric nurse (RPN) regulatory bodies in Canada, with the exception of Quebec and the Territories.
In this way you as IENs apply to one organization regardless of which province you live in, and whether you want to be an LPN/RPN, an RN, or a RPN.
“We have a vision of providing a single web-based portal which allows easy access for international nurse applicants interested in becoming regulated nursing professionals in Canada,” says NNAS board chair Mary-Anne Robinson… “The new web-based portal will speed up the application process for the internationally educated nurses and create a common national approach among the regulatory bodies,” says Robinson. “Each regulatory body ultimately determines whether or not an individual obtains a license to practice in their jurisdiction but the initial steps will be streamlined.”
What that means for you is that the application process will be easier. In the past IENs had to apply to one or more of the 22 individual provincial colleges of nursing, which are:
Registered Nurse Member Organizations
- Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Association of Registered Nurses of Prince Edward Island
- College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia
- Nurses Association of New Brunswick
- College of Nurses of Ontario
- College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba
- Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association
- College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta
- College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia
Licensed Practical Nurse/Registered Practical Nurse Member Organizations
- College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Licensed Practical Nurses Association of Prince Edward Island
- College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia
- Association of New Brunswick Licensed Practical Nurses
- College of Nurses of Ontario
- College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba
- Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses
- College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta
- College of Licensed Practical Nurses of British Columbia
Registered Psychiatric Nurse Member Organizations
- College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba
- Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Saskatchewan
- College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta
- College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of British Columbia
Starting August 12, 2014 you only have to apply to one organization: the same for each and every IEN regardless of which province you are living in, or hope to live in, due to the “harmonized approach to the initial assessment of internationally educated nurses (IENs)”.
The services they will include are:
- A single national web portal
- A common approach to initial document collections, authentication, validation and fraud screening
- A consistent competency based assessment of the IEN application file
- A consistent format advisory reports to regulatory bodies to inform eligibility assessments
Meaning, all IENs that have not already started their process with a provincial college of nursing, will create an account on the NNAS website. Following instructions you will provide whatever information, documentation and fees as required (including your scores for your English Proficiency Exam). Once you have done that NNAS will have your documentation authenticated and validated, to ensure that you really are an IEN. They will assess your skills and abilities, write an NNAS Advisory Report, and send it to the appropriate provincial college of nursing.
This process will be available in both English and French.
The appropriate provincial college of nursing, which you have specified, having received the NNAS Advisory Report, will determine your next steps for your license process: whether that be courses, upgrading, a temporary licence so you can gain Canadian experience, or the national exam.
Once you apply, you will be able to login to access your account and get updates on your status. NOTE: your online account will only be accessible for one year, but your NNAS Advisory Report will be valid for two years.
Who must apply to NNAS?
As of August 12, 2014, as an internationally educated nurse (IEN) you must set up an account with NNAS before your application will be considered by any Canadian nursing regulatory body if:
- you received your post-secondary nursing education outside of Canada;
- you have never registered to work as a nurse in Canada;
- you want to work as a Registered Nurse ( RN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) in Canada.
You do not have to set up an account with NNAS if:
- you were previously registered to practise as a nurse in Canada, or
- you successfully completed your nursing education at a Canadian institution.
In these cases, you can apply directly to the nursing regulatory body of your choice.
Because it was not clear to me I contacted NNAS to ask them what happens to IENs who have already started a registration process with a provincial college of nursing. I received the following reply:
Files currently under review prior to NNAS opening on August 12, 2014 will continue to be processed by the nursing organization the applicant originally applied to. All applications after August 12th will flow through NNAS.
For more information go to the Frequently Asked Questions page of the NNAS. This includes information on the following:
- General Information
- The Application Process
- Required Documents
- The Advisory Report
I will be posting updates about the NNAS on my blog, Dear Kim and Facebook, so follow me on either one to get the latest news. [UPDATE~ I have created a new page to archive all of the posts about NNAS: Understanding NNAS.]
2014 has been a great year for IENs! There are big changes happening all to make your process of becoming a nurse in Canada more efficient for as NNAS board chair Mary-Anne Robinson says,
“International recruitment is an important factor in maintaining the strong nursing workforce needed to meet the health needs of Canadians now and in the years ahead.”
Are you, as IENs, important to us? You better believe it!
P.S. Thanks for sharing this post on Twitter and Facebook!
All quotes are taken directly from the National Nursing Assessment Service website at http://www.nnas.ca.
If you are still confused, please write a comment so I can clarify things for you. There are probably many other IENs with the same question. KK