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Returning to Practice

If you are a nurse in the Non-Practising class who desires to return to practice after being away from practice for more than three years but less than five years, the Supervised Practice Experience (SPE) may be a great option for you.

The SPE is a self-directed option designed by the College of Nurses of Ontario (the College) for nurses registered in the Non-Practising Class who have been away from practice for more than three years but less than five years. It involves completing a nursing practice experience to gain the learning needs for meeting the evidence of practice requirement needed to register in the General Class and safely return to practice.

The supervised nurse completes the practice experience in an area of their choice under the guidance and supervision of a supervisor from an appropriate class and category of registration (RPN, RN or NP). The supervisors are nurses selected by a sponsoring organization and approved by the College to support the supervised nurse. RPNs can be supervised by either an RPN, RN or NP supervisor, whereas RNs can be supervised by either an RN or NP supervisor.

There is no minimum number of hours required to complete the SPE. The time period is determined by the individual learning needs of the supervised nurse. However, the supervised nurse must complete it within six months from the date the College approves their proposal for an SPE.

Determining suitability for SPE

To determine your suitability for using the SPE option, consider completing a self-assessment of your learning needs. As a result of your self-assessment, you may decide that instead of the SPE option, a refresher program through a post-secondary institution is a more suitable option for you.

All applicants to the SPE program will be evaluated individually. Past or current conduct and/or health issues may impact your eligibility to participate.    

How to proceed

To apply for the SPE, you must be a nurse registered in the Non-Practising Class and must have applied to the College for the reinstatement of your General Class registration. Nursing regulation in Ontario allows Non-Practising nurses, who want to return to the General Class, to demonstrate evidence of recent practice through continuing education or remediation. Members in the Non-Practising Class who choose to participate in the SPE process are considered to be engaging in remediation required for reinstatement to the General Class. Therefore, you will need to have professional liability protection (PLP). 

If you are a nurse in the Non-Practising Class who has been away from practice for more than three years but less than five years and you think the SPE option is suitable for you, you should take the following steps:

  1. Obtain the required SPE forms from the College’s website.
  2. Contact a potential sponsoring organization in Ontario where you would like to complete your SPE and begin making inquiries and arrangements for your SPE.
  3. Complete your SPE proposal with the sponsoring organization and submit it to the College for review and approval. It must be completed in the format outlined in the SPE Kit.
  4. If you are not registered in the Non-Practising Class, contact the College to provide you with the Non-Practising Class application form.

Please note that:

  • you will be required to provide an original police criminal record check issued within the last six months
  • the SPE forms must be submitted to the College and approved before you can start your SPE

How long does it take to arrange an SPE?

It could take approximately two to three months to make suitable arrangements with a sponsoring organization, submit the application to the College and obtain approval from the College to start the SPE.

What costs are involved?

There are some costs associated with using this option:

  • Registration in Non-Practising Class: If you are not already registered with the College, you will need to pay a fee to apply for registration in the Non-Practising Class. Once you are registered, you may also need to pay an annual fee to renew your membership in the Non-Practising Class. For information about fees, visit the College’s Application and Membership Fees page.
  • Professional Liability Protection (PLP): You are responsible for ensuring you have the appropriate liability insurance as required by the College’s by-laws. For more information, visit the College’s PLP FAQs page.
  • Other expenses: You may have other expenses, such as the cost of textbooks or other learning materials that you may determine are necessary to complete your SPE.

If you have any questions about the SPE, contact the College at

SPE Resources

Page last reviewed March 09, 2021