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Currency of Practice Experience

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Preamble

Physicians must remain qualified, competent and fit to practise medicine within their scope of practice at all times. There are several ways a physician can maintain the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to practise medicine safely and ethically. This policy addresses one of those ways: the currency of a physician’s practice experience related to a defined scope of practice.

Purpose 

This policy describes the minimum requirements for currency of practice experience for physicians applying for a licence to practise medicine in Nova Scotia and for those currently licensed in Nova Scotia.

Scope  

This policy defines currency of practice for all physicians licensed in Nova Scotia and for all physicians, except Clinical Assistants, applying for licensure in Nova Scotia. The currency of practice requirements for candidates applying for a Clinical Assistant licence is described in the Clinical Assistant Licence policy1.  

Policy

To be considered current and to maintain currency of practice under a defined scope of practice, a physician must have engaged in clinical practice for at least 450 hours* of the previous 3 years. 

* 450 hours is derived from a previous policy in which physicians were required to work a minimum of half-time clinical practice for at least 6 months of the previous 3 years. Half-time was calculated with the assumption that full-time practice is 1800 hours per year. Half-time would thus be 900 hours per year. A physician working half-time for six months would work 450 hours.

  1. For Physicians Entering a Practice Ready Assessment (PRA)2,3,4 
    For physicians applying for a PRA, they must have a minimum of 450 hours of independent discipline-specific practice within 3 years of the date of the College application for the PRA. The College will verify practice experience through letters of employment.  
  2. Unique Scopes of Practice
    The Registrar may, in some circumstances, make a determination on currency of practice and frequency of practice when a physician’s intended scope is very narrow and poses a low risk to patient safety.
  3. Currency of Practice Reporting  
    Information regarding currency of practice is gathered at initial application, during the annual renewal process and at other times as required. During annual renewal of licensure, physicians are required to self-report their currency of practice.
  4. Lapses in Currency
    If the physician reports that they may not be current, or have a practice pattern that may lead to lack of currency, the College will contact the physician  for details and advise that an internal flag may be added on the College’s database to indicate when they may not be current for clinical practice. The College will work with the physician to re-gain or maintain currency.

Resources

  1. Clinical Assistant Licence 
  2. Nova Scotia Practice Ready Assessment Program
  3. Pathway to Licensure for International Medical Graduates via a Practice Ready Assessment: Specialists and SEAP Status Affiliates (with a primary specialty of Internal Medicine) 
  4. Pathway to Licensure for International Medical Graduates via a Practice Ready Assessment:  Family Medicine 

Applicable Legislation

Section 16 1 (a), (b) Medical Practitioners Regulations

Approved By

Registration Policy Committee, Council

Approval Date

February 10, 2022 & March 25, 2022

Review Date

April 2025