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Internationally-educated nurses

All internationally-educated nurses (IEN) applicants must meet the mandatory requirements to be eligible for registration.

If you were educated as a nurse outside of Canada and want to hold registration in British Columbia, you will apply under the internationally educated nurse category. Before applying for registration with BCCNM, you must first apply to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS).

Nursing professions in British Columbia

The health care system in British Columbia is supported by a number of different nursing professions: licensed practical nurses (LPNs), nurse practitioners (NPs), registered nurses (RNs) and registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs).  Learn more about the types of nurses and the roles of each nursing profession

Supports and bursaries

The Province of British Columbia supports IENs who wish to work in B.C. by providing bursaries to offset application costs and nurse navigators to support them through the process. To find out more or express your interest in being contacted about next steps, please visit the Health Match BC website

BCCNM application process: One application, two nursing professions 

Internationally educated applicants to BCCNM are assessed for both registered nurse and licensed practical nurse registration through one application, for one application fee.  Applicants also have the option of applying as a health care assistant through the Health Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry. Note: BCCNM does not regulate health care assistants. 

The dual application enables applicants to enter the healthcare workforce sooner in the designation that matches their current nursing competence. Nursing education and practice differs around the world; if you do not meet the competencies required to practise as a registered nurse in British Columbia, you may meet the competencies required of a licensed practical nurse or health care assistant.

If you do not want to be assessed for both RN and LPN registration, please contact us at register@bccnm.ca. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.​

How to apply

​1.​ Apply to NNAS​​​
  • Before applying to BCCNM, you must apply to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS).
  • IMPORTANT: BCCNM only requires one NNAS report to assess you for both registered nurse (RN) and licensed practical nurse (LPN) registration. You can apply to NNAS as an LPN or RN. 
  • 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
  • A registration assessor will review the inforamtion you submitted on your application to demonstrate your English language proficiency. They will follow up with you for more information if required. 
  • If BCCNM determines that you have not met this requirement, you will be required to submit an approved language test​ where you have met the required benchmarks. 
​​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, and will assess your competency for three health care professions: registered nurse, licensed practical nurse and health care assistant. 
  • Once completed, BCCNM will use the NCAS assessment report and other components of your application to assess your eligibility for RN or LPN registration. If any competency gaps are identified during the assessment, we will determine a transitional education pathway for you to be ready for practise and eligible for registration. 
  • Learn more about competency assessments​.
5. BCCNM assessment​
  • BCCNM will use the NCAS assessment reports and other components of your applicant to assess your eligibility for LPN and RN registration.
  • If any competency gaps are identified during the assessment, we will determine the transitional education pathway for you to be ready for practise and eligible for registration. 
6. 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 relevant registration exam: the REx-PN​ (LPNs) or the NCLEX-RN (RNs)
  • 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. You can also check the online directory to make sure you are authorized to practice before you start working.
​7. Registration decision/pay registration fee
  • Once you have successfully completed the NCLEX-RN​ 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 provisional 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).​​

​​​​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
Good character refers to a combination of personal qualities and traits, such as ​

  • moral or ethical strength
  • Integrity, candour, empathy and honesty
  • An appreciation of the difference between right and wrong
  • The moral fibre to do that which is right and not to do that which is wrong

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 provided on the application form or in any communication with BCCNM.
  • Current or previous regulatory history, including any past investigation, resolution, and/or discipline.
  • Information related to current and/or previous employment.
  • Information from an educational institution, if applicable.
  • Any history of unethical or dishonest behaviour
  • 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
Fitness to practice refers to the absence of any physical or mental ailment, emotional disturbance, or addiction that may impair your ability to practise. When determining whether you are fit to engage in nursing practice, we review:​​
  • Self-disclosure of a physical or mental ailment, an emotional disturbance, or an addiction that could impair your ability to practise.
  • Information from previous employer(s).
  • Information regarding any previous registration cancellation or voluntary relinquishment of registration.
  • Any current or past regulatory investigations.
  • Information regarding any current or previous limits and/or conditions placed on your practice.
  • 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).
Competence
When determining whether you are competent to practise as a nurse in B.C., we review:

  • All relevant nursing practice experience
  • Results of the NCAS assessment report​​
  • Any other experience working in the Canadian health care system
  • Continuing education in nursing
  • Consolidation of knowledge
  • Any periods of non-practice
English language proficiency
If English is not the primary language you use for reading, writing, listening, and speaking, you will be required to demonstrate your English language proficiency. If there is any indication during the assessment of your application your proficiency is not conducive to safe practice, we may require an English language test. 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)