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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 factors to consistently maintain the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to practise medicine safely and ethically. This policy addresses one factor: 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 practising in Nova Scotia.   

Scope  

This policy defines currency of practice for all physicians practising 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 be engaged in regular practice, for at least 6 months of the previous 3 years. 

The College defines “regular” practice as a minimum of half-time clinical practice. Half-time is calculated with the assumption that full-time practice is 1800 hours per year and therefore half-time requires a minimum of 900 hours per year.   

For Physicians Entering a Practice Ready Assessment (PRA)  

For physicians applying for a PRA, they must have a minimum of 6 months of regular 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.  

For PRA – Family Medicine, the physician must have at least 24 months of independent practice in Family Medicine/General Practice following completion of a total of 24 months of postgraduate training/internship in family medicine.  

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. 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.  

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. 

Resource

  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, Executive Committee

Approval Date

April 21, 2021 & April 26, 2021 

Review Date

April 2022