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Clinical Observers

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Physicians not otherwise licensed to practise medicine in Nova Scotia may apply for an Observership Permit under which they may observe, learn and gain insight into the practise of medicine in this province.

As a clinical observer, the physician will interact with patients and have access to personal patient information. The physician must therefore possess qualifications and meet standards acceptable to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia (the College).

Limitations to the activities permitted, as laid out in this policy, must be clearly understood and adhered to by both the observing physician and the College approved, most responsible physician (MRP)/supervisor.


In order for a clinical observership permit to be issued, the physician must:

  1. be a graduate of a University or School Approved by Council;
  2. complete source verification of their credentials through;
  3. submit a clinical observership application form to the College with supporting documentation;
  4. arrange to have one or more Supervision Agreement form(s) completed by an independently licensed physician with a Full or Academic Licence, who has agreed to act as the MRP/supervisor, according to the expectations and limitations laid out in this policy; and
  5. provide a character reference from an individual who is not a relative and who has known the physician for at least five years, that is acceptable to the Registrar.

A clinical observership permit is valid for a maximum of three months. Renewal will be at the discretion of the Registrar.

Clinical observers must function under the direct oversight of a College-approved Supervisor at all times. Supervision may not be otherwise delegated.

Clinical observers may (with the patient’s consent):

  • Observe any aspect of a patient’s care;
  • View medical records; and
  • Conduct clinical assessments (history and/or physical examination) in whole or in part, under the direct and immediate oversight of a College-approved supervisor.

Clinical observers are not permitted to:

  • Make entries in the patient’s medical record;
  • Give medical advice to a patient or make a medical diagnosis;
  • Prescribe treatment;
  • Take a telephone call regarding clinical matters on behalf of their supervisor or other physicians;
  • Perform or assist in medical procedures (exclusive of the clinical assessment, above);
  • Conduct handover; or
  • Discharge a patient from care.


Approved by

Registration Committee

Executive Committee


Approval date

June 15, 2018

June 19, 2018

Review date

April 2020