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FAQs: Competency Assessment Supplement

General Questions

What is a Competency Assessment Supplement?

A Competency Assessment Supplement (CAS) is a document you complete after the College has assessed your nursing education and any current or past nursing practice (work or volunteer). If you have no nursing practice, you will be asked to complete a CAS.

If the College asks you to complete a CAS, it means it has identified gaps in your nursing knowledge, skill and judgment that you must address before you can register to practise as a nurse in Ontario. You may complete the CAS in English or French.

Why do I have to complete a CAS?

Completing a CAS gives you the opportunity to fill in any competency gaps after reviewing any information about your nursing education and practice.

A CAS allows you to address those gaps by giving the College examples from your nursing education and experience that show how you demonstrate competencies in your day-to-day practice.

How long do I have to write my CAS?

There is no longer any time limit for writing and submitting your CAS to the College. (If you were previously told you had 45 days to submit your CAS, that deadline no longer applies.)

However, the College encourages you to submit your CAS as soon as possible so it can determine whether you meet the nursing education requirement.

The College will keep your application open for as long as there is evidence of progress toward meeting registration requirements. If there is no progress for two years, your application will be closed.

Why wasn’t my nursing education and experience enough?

Nursing education and standards of nursing practice differ from one country to the next. They can also change over time. Because of this, applicants from other countries may not have education or experience demonstrating equivalent nursing knowledge, skill and judgment to that of a current Ontario nursing graduate.

The situation is similar if you completed your nursing program 20 years ago and you have not completed any additional education since that time. The knowledge you gained from that program may not have prepared you with the same knowledge, skill and judgment as that of a current graduate from an approved Ontario nursing program.

Can I meet my competency gaps by completing additional nursing education?

Yes. Once you complete additional education, ask your school to send an official transcript to the College in a sealed envelope that displays the school’s official letterhead, seal or stamp. The College may ask for more information, such as official copies of course descriptions or outlines.

The College will review the information to determine if your additional education meets your competency gaps. If it does not, you will be required to complete a CAS or additional education.

What if I don’t want to complete the CAS or additional education?

Please notify the College in writing if you refuse to complete the CAS or additional education. This will mean that the College will be unable to determine if you meet the nursing education requirement. 

Then, you can either withdraw your application or submit it for review to the Registration Committee.

The Committee may decide that:

  • you do not meet the nursing education requirement (which means that your registration request will be refused)

or

  • you must complete the CAS 

I don’t want to pursue my application further. What do I do?

Notify the College in writing that you want to withdraw your application. The College will confirm in writing that your application has been closed.


Writing the CAS

What should I put in my CAS?

Review the competency gap(s) the College mentioned in its assessment of your nursing competencies. Look back on your nursing experience and identify a situation in which you demonstrated each competency in your practice.
Here is an example of how an RPN applicant might respond to a report that identifies gaps in her conflict-resolution skills (RPN Entry-to-Practice Competencies Nos. 11, 22, 46 and 59):

There are different types of conflict, such as conflict between nurses, nurse and client, nurse and families, and nurses and doctors. Conflict starts when there is a difference of opinion.

For example, when I was working in the ICU, a nurse I was working with was always late for her shift. I was working the night shift and wanted to leave after giving my report. When she came to work her shift, she always had an excuse for why she was late. This upset me and I did not feel that she respected me as a colleague (Competency #11). Knowing that I was tired, it was not a good time to resolve the issue because I would have exploded.

I asked my teammate if I could meet her for coffee before the next shift and talk about something that was bothering me. She agreed. I knew that I needed to address the behaviour and not yell at the person. I knew that I had to let her know how I was feeling when this happens. I know that I needed to listen to her explanation (C. #22).

So we met for coffee in a quiet place, just the two of us. I told her how I felt when I could not leave my shift on time and how I was scared to go home because I was so tired. I asked her if there was a reason for her lateness. Then I was quiet and let her talk. She told me her story about her daycare problems. Then we came up with a plan that would be good for both of us. We agreed to try it out for two weeks and come back to see if it works (C. #46). At the end of two weeks we met again and our plan was working out nicely, and I thought about my approach and how we were both happy with the outcome (C. #59).

Do I have to write a separate example for each competency gap?

That is up to you. If you can talk about one example from your past experience that includes each of the competencies you want to address (as seen above), you can do that.

If you feel more comfortable using a different example for each competency, that is also acceptable. 

What is the preferred format for preparing my CAS?

Your CAS submission must be typed and double-spaced.
It can be sent to the College by:

Mail: College of Nurses of Ontario
101 Davenport Rd.
Toronto, ON  M5R 3P1
Attention: Entry to Practice – CAS Submission
Fax: 416 928-6507
Attention: Entry to Practice – CAS Submission
Email: entrytopractice@cnomail.org
Attention: Entry to Practice – CAS Submission

When sending your CAS by fax or email, be sure to write “Attention: Entry to Practice - CAS Submission” in the subject line to avoid delays.


Citing Sources/Plagiarism

Can I use material I found on the Internet in my CAS?

Yes, but you must give credit to the original author by identifying who wrote the content and where you found it (for instance, list the person’s name and website address). This applies to information from Internet sources, books, magazines, conference materials and research papers.

If you do not give credit to the source of information, you are committing plagiarism, which could seriously affect the status of your application.  

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else’s words as your own without giving them proper credit. According to plagiarism.org, it happens when you:

  • turn in someone else's work as your own
  • copy words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • fail to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • give incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • paraphrase a passage by changing words but copying the sentence structure without giving credit
  • copy so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, regardless of whether you give credit

The College considers plagiarism to be a serious matter. It can have serious consequences for your registration and future career.

How can I avoid plagiarizing?

Make sure you write in your own words and do not paraphrase or use quotations from any other source without indicating the author and the source.

Before preparing your CAS, familiarize yourself with what plagiarizing means by referring to the following websites:

The College does not require any one specific format for citations in your CAS, as long as it is clear which parts of your writing are borrowed from other sources. (Search “essay citation examples” online for examples of how to do this.)

How does the College check for plagiarism?

The College checks every CAS for plagiarism by submitting the CAS to an online plagiarism detection service, Turnitin

Turnitin compares your CAS with texts from a variety of other sources. It also keeps a copy of your CASE in its database to detect plagiarism in future submissions. The College follows Turnitin’s Terms of Use agreement.

What happens if the College suspects that I plagiarized in my CAS?

If the College finds plagiarism in your CAS, it will stop the assessment and send your application to the Registration Committee for review. There, you will be offered a chance to explain what happened.

The Registration Committee may respond with different possible outcomes. It could invite you to rewrite your CAS with proper citations. Or, the College could refuse your request for registration on the basis that you have not demonstrated you would practise nursing with decency, honesty and integrity.

If you are offered another opportunity to rewrite your CAS, it is very important to ensure there is no plagiarism.

What happens if I don’t want my CAS to go to Turnitin?

Notify the College in writing (by mail, email or fax) that you do not want it to submit your CAS to Turnitin. 

If you choose not to allow the College to submit your CAS to Turnitin: 

  • the College will not review your CAS and it will be unable to determine if you meet the nursing education requirement

and

  • the Registration Committee will review your application
Page last reviewed October 12, 2017