Continuing Competence Program - What is it all about?

For the Public

The public expects all health care providers, including registered nurses, to provide safe, compassionate, competent and ethical care. They also assume that health care professionals keep their competencies up-to-date.

In accordance with their Standards of Practice for Registered Nurses, registered nurses hold prime responsibility for maintaining their competence. However, employers and the College also have a role to play, specifically in promoting and enhancing nurses’ competencies. The College is meeting its responsibility, in part, through the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) and the development of legislation to support its implementation (see the Registered Nurses Act).

On a national level, all nursing regulatory bodies in Canada have made continuing competence a priority. So, in addition to the professional benefits associated with keeping competencies current, completing the CCP will also enhance labour mobility within Canada - by helping nurses meet the continuing competence requirements of other provinces.

For Nurses

The College knows that registered nurses use a variety of mechanisms to maintain their competence throughout their careers. For instance, some nurses enrol in formal education programs while others consult with their colleagues and seek out learning opportunities in their clinical areas. The Continuing Competence Program (CCP) is a formal mechanism to further develop and record these processes.

The CCP is based on the philosophy that registered nurses are competent and committed to lifelong learning. The program centres on a self-assessment tool called Building Your Profile. The tool, which was developed with the input of hundreds of registered nurses in the Nova Scotia, is designed to maintain and enhance the continuing competence of registered nurses by engaging them in the processes of reflective practice, lifelong learning and the integration of learning into practice. The tool formalizes processes most registered nurses already engage in:

  • reflecting on the Standards (RN and/or NP) and Code of Ethics;
  • identifying strengths and learning opportunities;
  • developing learning plans;
  • and implementing and evaluating learning plans.

Anyone applying for or renewing an active-practising licence in Nova Scotia must complete the Building Your Profile™ (BYP) self-assessment tool, or an equivalent, to satisfy the requirements of the CCP. Nurses who have not met the CCP requirements when applying for/renewing a licence will be issued a time-limited licence (refer to the FAQs for more information).