This module is designed to provide information on health care regulation in Nova Scotia and includes an overview of what CRNNS is, what a regulatory body like CRNNS does, what your obligations are as a registered nurse and where to go for more information.
Role of a College
In Canada, the nursing profession is regulated in the public interest. Nursing regulators work to ensure that Canadians who require nursing services will have safe, compassionate, competent, and ethical practitioners to provide care. Regulatory nursing organizations have been established in every province specifically to regulate the nursing profession in the public interest. In Nova Scotia the regulatory body for registered nurses is the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia.
Regulation of the nursing profession means that certain standards and rules are in place under specific legislation that governs the profession. Regulation exists to protect the public who are especially vulnerable when they are sick and unable to independently meet their own needs.
In order to start a career and continue to practice as an RN you must meet the requirements set by the government and enforced by the regulatory body. This body regulates the profession of registered nurses and improves the probability that the public will receive safe, compassionate, competent and ethical care from all registered nurses.
Regulated Health Professions in Nova Scotia
The Regulated Health Professions Network is comprised of health professionals such as physicians, physiotherapists and pharmacists, and used as a forum for communication, to share resources and expertise, collaborate on projects and identify common issues and concerns. In Nova Scotia, our health care system is continuing to move towards collaborative inter-professional care teams. These teams enable health professionals to work together in the most effective and efficient way so that they can produce the best health outcomes for clients. As a result of this collaboration, the Regulated Health Professions Network Act evolved.
The purpose of the Regulated Health Professions Network Act is to improve the system of health-profession regulation in the Province. It is intended to increase collaboration among Network members in the regulation of the health professions to support and enable an increase in inter-professional practice among the regulated health professions and strengthen the protection that regulation provides to the public. In addition the intent is also to eliminate statutory barriers to collaboration.
College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia
The College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia is the regulatory body for registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) in Nova Scotia. It is responsible for protecting the public by ensuring that registered nurses and nurse practitioners practice safely, competently, compassionately, and ethically. CRNNS is a not-for profit organization that operates solely on the basis of the annual licensing fees paid by RNs and NPs. A Council sets the fee structure that permits it to manage its ongoing operations, ensure appropriate financial reserves and support regulatory and member programs.
Many systems, services, and professions serve the public interest. For example publicly funded systems include health and education; services include fire and police; and professions include engineering, law, medicine, and nursing.
Regulation is defined as the act of controlling or directing according to rule or legislation. Regulation is the process of being regulated and in Nova Scotia authoritative direction comes from the government. For example midwives are not self-regulating in Nova Scotia they are regulated by the government.
Non-regulation means individuals who are not regulated by a professional, governmental, or regulatory body. For example in health care assistive personnel such as Continuing Care Assistants are unregulated. To be unregulated means there is no legislated authority or essential regulatory components such as a set of standards, a code of ethics or a process for conduct review, however, there is use of a provincial title and completion of a standard curriculum.
Self-regulation is based on the concept that an occupational group enters into an agreement with government to formally regulate the practice of its members. Self-regulation enables government to have some control over the practice of the profession and its services but without having to maintain the expertise required to directly regulate the profession. Self regulation allows the professions, with public input, to govern themselves to benefit the community at large. In the nursing profession, self-regulation is grounded in ethics, directed by law, and guided by a set of principles. It is described as nurses governing nursing.
Self-regulation by a profession is based on the premise that those within the profession are in the best position to determine, evaluate, and enforce the standards of practice of the profession. Self-regulation is a privilege that is afforded to a number of health professions. It is important to remember that this privilege can be taken away if the public (government) loses trust in the accountability of the profession to regulate itself.
For more information on the topic of self-regulation see the resource What Self Regulation Means to You – Fact Sheet
Individual Obligations as a Registered Nurse
Registered nurses in Nova Scotia are obligated to:
- Maintain a current licence
- Practice within the scope of practice of the profession and within their individual scope of practice
- Adhere to the standards for nursing practice and the CNA Code of Ethics
- Ensure individual continuing competence
- Practice according to the legislation and regulatory policies that apply to their practice
- Maintain a professional presence
- Practice within professional boundaries
- Participate in College programs such as Continuing Competence
If at any time you have questions regarding regulation, the practice of nursing in Nova Scotia, or the contents of this resource feel free to contact College staff.
Other Nursing Organizations
As you begin professional practice as a registered nurse and throughout your career you will probably have contact with other nursing organizations such as:
- Canadian Nurses Association
- Canadian Nurses Protective Society
- Canadian Council of Registered Nurse Regulators
- Canadian Nurses Foundation
You can contact the unions representing registered nurses in Nova Scotia at:
In Nova Scotia licensed practical nurses can identify themselves as nurses and describe their activities as nursing. Contact the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia for more information.
In addition, there are a number of nursing specialty interest groups such as the Nova Scotia Gerontological Nurses Association; Mental Health Nurses Association of Nova Scotia (MHNANS) and the Family Practice Nurses Association of Nova Scotia to name a few.