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New strategies streamline path to registration for      int​ernationally educated nurses in B.C. 

In May 2022, three initiatives will launch to reduce the time, effort and cost for internationally educated applicants to register as a nurse in British Columbia. More information will be available in the coming weeks, and IENs who are already in the BCCNM application process will be contacted directly about their options. 

​If you completed your nursing education in a country other than Canada and would like to hold nursing registration in British Columbia, you must apply as an internationally educated nurse (IEN). Before applying for registration with BCCNM, you must first apply to theNational Nursing Assessment Service​ (NNAS).

How to apply

​1.​ Apply to NNAS​​​
  • Before applying to BCCNM, you must apply to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS).
  • NNAS will verify your identity and nursing education documents, and evaluate your education based on Canadian standards and compared to current Canadian nursing requirements.
  • NN​AS will present their finding in an advisory report. When you receive this report, you can apply to BCCNM.
2. Apply for BCCNM registration
3. English language proficiency
  • BCCNM will assess your language proficiency​.
  • If you did not complete an approved English language test during the NNAS application process, you may be required to take a language test and submit the results before you move forward in the application process.
  • We may request additional information to determine if your application satisfactorily demonstrates your English language proficiency.
4. Competency assessment
  • After reviewing your application​, we will determine if you need to complete a competency assessment, offered through the Nursing Community Assessment Service (NCAS).
  • The competency assessment evaluates your nursing skills against the competencies that nurses are required to possess for safe nursing practice in Canada.
  • The assessment includes a computer-based test and a simulation lab assessment.
  • Once completed, BCCNM will use the NCAS assessment report and other components of your application to assess your eligibility for registration. If any knowledge gaps are identified during the assessment, we will tailor a transitional education pathway for you to move forward in the application process.
5. Registration exam and provisional registration​
  • ​​Once you have met all the requirements above, we will send you information about your remaining registration requirements. This will include instructions on how to register for the RPNCE​, the RPN registration exam.
  • If you requested to be considered for provisional registration and it is granted, we will send you another email with instructions on how to pay your registration fee through your BCCNM account. You will appear in the online directory once you are authorized to practice.
  • Please note: you cannot legally practise until you have received an email from BCCNM confirming your provisional registration is granted.
​6. Practising registration
  • Once you have successfully completed the RPNCE and any other requirements for registration, you will be sent instructions on how to pay your practising registration fee​ (if you do not already hold provisional registration). You will appear in the online directory once you are authorized to practice.
  • If you held provisional registration, your status will automatically be updated to practising registration once you have met all registration requirements.
  • Please note: You cannot legally practise until you have received an email from BCCNM confirming your practising registration is granted.​​

When determining whether you are competent to practise as a nurse in B.C., we review:

  • All relevant nursing practice experience to determine your knowledge, skills, attitudes, critical thinking, and clinical judgement.
  • Results of the NCAS assessment report (if taken).​​​​


​​​​​Tips to avoid application delays

  • Get your documents notarized before you apply.
  • Keep the original copies of all documents.
  • Only submit accepted forms of identification. Do not submit copies of your credit card or social insurance number.
  • Make sure all identity copies clearly show your face, name and signature, and that all of the information is clear and visible.​​

Assessing your application

When we assess your application for registration, we consider the following:

Nursing education
  • We review the NNAS advisory report, which provides information about the comparability of your nursing education to Canadian nursing education programs.
​Good character
When determining whether you are of good character, we review:

  • The circumstances around any previous criminal charges and/or convictions, the results of your criminal record check, and any other information you wish to have considered related to the same, if applicable.
  • The completeness, correctness, and accuracy of the information you disclosed on the application form.
  • Information related to other application(s) for registration, or previous registration history, if applicable.
  • Information related to previous employment, or employment while holding interim registration, if applicable.
  • Information from the educational institution, if applicable.
  • A self-reflection of the circumstances, learnings, and growth since the events, or actions taken, that indicate a possible lack of good character.
Fitness to practice nursing
When determining whether you are fit to engage in nursing practice, we review (if applicable):
  • Self-disclosure of a physical or mental ailment, an emotional disturbance or an addiction to alcohol or drugs that could impair your ability to practise.
  • Information from previous employer(s) disclosing the same.
  • Information regarding any previous registration cancellation or voluntary relinquishment of registration related to the same.
  • Information from treating physician(s) or specialist(s) who can provide an opinion as to your current health status, any recommendations for safe entrance into the profession, and your fitness to practise nursing (we only request this information in certain circumstances).
  • Information submitted with a Request for Accommodation for the registration exam.
English language proficiency
When assessing your English language proficiency, BCCNM reviews:

  • Your first language.
  • Language test results (if taken). Information from your nursing education institution.
  • Information from your employer(s).
  • Additional evidence of English proficiency (i.e. references from regulated health professionals)
When determining whether you are competent to practise as a nurse in B.C., we review:

  • All relevant nursing practice experience.
  • Type of registration
  • Continuing education in nursing
  • Consolidation of knowledge
  • Any periods of non-practice
  • Results of the NCAS assessment report (if taken).​​