The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) joined 22 nursing regulatory bodies across Canada to launch the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS). When NNAS’s Web portal went live on August 12, all internationally educated applicants to the CNO were directed to submit their applications and pay their initial assessment fees to NNAS within a secure online environment. A project nine years in the making, NNAS is the beginning of a national approach to the assessment of Registered Nurse and Registered Practical Nurse applicants who (a) completed their nursing education outside of Canada and (b) are not currently registered to practise as a nurse within Canada.
Benefits to applicants will include the ability to:
- apply to multiple jurisdictions within Canada
- send documents (e.g., education transcripts) to just one central location, regardless of how many jurisdictions an applicant applies to
- track the status of their application online
- access a toll-free customer care line with service in both English and French
Here are five key points to remember about NNAS and how it will work with the CNO to provide greater transparency and timeliness in its application processes:
- NNAS will not make decisions about an applicant’s eligibility for registration. The CNO and all other regulatory bodies involved with NNAS will continue to make the final decision on whether to accept or refuse an applicant’s request for registration.
- NNAS will conduct the initial review of an application. NNAS will function as the start of an applicant’s journey to registration by accepting the applicant’s initial application and assessing the documents (e.g., education transcripts, identity documents). NNAS will then create a report that the CNO will use along with other information to determine whether the applicant can proceed to the next steps in the registration process — steps the CNO will continue to administer. NNAS will apply only to those applicants who were educated outside of Canada and have never been registered as a nurse in Canada. Applicants who were educated at an approved nursing program in Canada or are currently registered as a nurse in another Canadian jurisdiction will continue to be assessed by the CNO under current registration processes.
- The registration requirements have not changed. Provincial legislation sets out the requirements that all applicants must meet before they can practise nursing in Ontario.
- NNAS only affects those who submit their applications after August 12. When NNAS is launched, all new applicants will be directed to the NNAS website to begin the application process. Applicants who apply to the CNO before August 12 will continue to be assessed by the College; they will not be asked to re-submit their applications to NNAS when its portal goes live.
The CNO is working to ensure all its systems and processes accommodate the transition to NNAS. This includes re-assessing application and registration fees to ensure the CNO continues its commitment to a revenue-neutral fee structure. The CNO is also communicating this change to the process through their website and direct communications with applicants. Further information about NNAS will be available at www.cno.org/nnas .