If you’re applying for certification for the first time, you have to write the exam and meet the following eligibility requirements:
- You must be a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, licensed/registered practical nurse or registered psychiatric nurses with current registration or licence in Canada.
- New: starting in January, registered psychiatric nurses can apply to write their nursing specialty certification exams in gerontology as well as in psychiatric and mental health.
- New: starting in June, licensed/registered practical nurses can apply to write their nursing specialty certification exams in medical-surgical nursing. The first exam will be offered in November 2020.
- You need to meet the experience and/or education requirements (see below).
- Your supervisor and/or consultant in your nursing practice specialty must be able to confirm your specialty experience and endorse your application.
- You must pay exam fees at application time.
For all nursing practice specialties (except wound, ostomy and continence)
There are two options through which you can qualify to write the certification exam — option A or option B.
Option A — experience only:
- A minimum of 3,900 hours’ experience as a nurse in your specialty over the past five years in full-time, part-time or casual employment. Your experience may be in any of the five nursing domains:
- direct patient care
Option B — experience plus specialty education:
- A minimum of 2,925 hours’ experience as a nurse in your specialty over the past five years in full-time, part-time or casual employment in any of the five nursing domains:
- direct patient care
- A formal post-basic course in your specialty at least 300 hours in length and taken over the last 10 years. A formal post-basic course is a specialty diploma or certificate program completed at a community college or university.
For wound, ostomy and continence certification
- Successful completion of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Education Program offered by Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Canada (NSWOCC) OR successful completion of a full scope wound, ostomy and continence nursing education program (that includes the three practice domains) recognized by NSWOCC. Proof of completion is required*.
*Please contact NSWOCC for proof of completion and information on recognized wound, ostomy and continence education program. You can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.nswoc.ca or call 1-888-739-5072.