Issue 4: December, 2021
Currency of Practice
The College wholeheartedly welcomes physicians back to practice after extended leave, supporting their return through structured assessment and guidance.
There are several variables for a physician to maintain their scope of practice in Nova Scotia. The physician must have the training, knowledge, skills, and recent practice experience. Section 16(1) of the Nova Scotia Medical Practitioners Regulations (i.e. provincial legislation) requires all physicians who have been absent from practice for more than three years to successfully complete a competence assessment as determined by the Registrar. The College’s policy for Currency of Practice Experience outlines the minimal time in practice required to maintain currency.
This policy requires a physician to maintain at least half-time practice for at least six months in the previous three years. The time in practice is simply six months in total in the previous three years.
A physician must practice a minimum of 450 hours in the previous three years over any 6 months to maintain their currency of practice experience.
The policy defines the ‘regular’ practice as at least half time which is defined as a minimum of 900 hours per year, assuming that 1800 hours per year is equivalent to full-time practice.
Therefore, a physician must practice a minimum of 450 hours in the previous three years over any 6 months to maintain their currency of practice experience.
When physicians don’t meet the requirement of the currency policy, they reach out to the College to determine how to re-enter practice. The College then supports that physician by assisting with a practice assessment and then tailoring a re-entry to practice plan based upon the findings of that assessment. While a practice assessment is available to returning physicians, it is not commonplace. Physicians who have been out of practice for more than three years are most often out of practice permanently. If you, or a colleague, are contemplating a return to practice after an extended period away, please reach out directly.