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Information for Nurses

Nursing regulation in Ontario allows nurses in the Non-Practicing Class who want to return to the General or Extended Class to do so by completing continuing education or remediation. 

The Supervised Practice Experience (SPE) provides an option for nurses in the Non-Practicing Class who have been away from practice for more than three years but less than five years to complete a nursing practice experience in Ontario under the guidance and supervision of a nurse supervisor. Nurse supervisors are RPNs, RNs and NPs who are registered with the College and are assigned by the sponsoring organization to supervise the nurse. RPNs can be supervised by either a RPN, RN or NP supervisor, whereas RNs can be supervised by either a RN or NP supervisor. 

To use the SPE option, you must first submit a SPE application to the College for approval. To get the necessary form, read Submitting Your SPE Documents below. There is no minimum number of hours required to complete the SPE. The time period is determined by your learning needs. However, you are required to complete it within a six-month period from the date the College approves your application for the SPE option. 

Criteria that qualifies you for the SPE option include:

  • You are registered in the Non-Practicing Class
  • You have been away from practice for more than three years but less than five years
  • You have an open reinstatement application with the College

SPE requirements

The following are requirements you must complete before you start the SPE:

  • Ensure registration in the Non-Practicing Class
  • Obtain professional liability protection according to the College’s by-laws (By-Law 44.4)
  • Contact potential sponsoring organizations in Ontario and begin making inquiries and arrangements for your SPE. It might be helpful to start by contacting your previous employers and local health care organizations
  • Obtain a nurse supervisor who is assigned by the sponsoring organization.
  • Complete your SPE application and submit it to the College.

Throughout the SPE, you must:

  • clearly explain to others, including clients, the capacity in which you are practicing. For example, stating, “I’m an RN/RPN who has not practiced in the last three years or more. I’m completing a Supervised Practice Experience as part of my requirements to re-enter the nursing profession under the supervision of a qualified supervisor.”
  • use the protected title, “RN, Non-Practicing” or “RPN, Non-Practicing” in formal documentation
  • only provide care you are competent to provide. You may perform any of the 5 controlled acts authorized to nursing but you cannot delegate or accept delegation of a controlled act
  • not supervise, monitor or direct the performance of others, with no exceptions.

To complete your SPE you must:

Complete the SPE within a six-month period following the College’s approval of your participation in the SPE.

Upon completion of the SPE, you must submit the Supervised Practice Experience Completion form by mail to the College, Attention: Monitoring Team, before you can become eligible to register as a nurse in the General Class.

In addition, you are responsible for all expenses, such as costs for textbooks, other learning materials and Non-Practicing Class registration fees.

Approaching a sponsoring organization

Early in the planning for your SPE, you should find and make arrangements with a sponsoring organization in Ontario. The practice area you select must enable you to:

  • apply nursing knowledge, skill and judgment
  • apply the College’s practice standards and guidelines
  • have an impact, whether direct or indirect, on the delivery of health care services to clients

A nurse supervisor, registered as RPN, RN or NP must be available to supervise your practice. Please note that RPNs can be supervised by a qualified supervisor who is either an RPN, RN or NP, whereas RNs can only be supervised by an RN or NP.

Submitting your SPE documents

All information and documents submitted to the College must be typewritten, clear and concise. Please keep a copy of the SPE application for your records.

Your SPE application must include the following documents:

You must wait for the College’s approval of your application before starting your SPE.

Upon completion of the SPE, you and your sponsoring organization must complete and then submit the following document to the College:

The College will review all information submitted, assess your eligibility for registration in the General Class and contact you about next steps.

Getting started: assessing your learning needs

It is recommended that you begin by assessing your learning needs, using the Quality Assurance Program’s Self-Assessment tool at www.cno.org/en/myqa/. This is an ongoing process that is expected of all nurses registered with the College.

Finding out what you need to know can be a challenge. You are accountable for reflecting on your own practice to determine your learning goals. The nurse supervisor can help you identify whether you have completed and achieved your learning goals at the end of the SPE.

You can begin by identifying what a nurse practicing in your chosen practice setting must know to be able to practice nursing safely. Then compare this to what you currently know and are able to do, and determine what gaps exist. When you initially assess your learning needs, you should consider items such as:

  • orientation into your sponsoring organization and practice setting
  • changes in health care and nursing (e.g. laws, standards, practices) since you last practiced nursing
  • safe, effective and ethical application of standards and relevant laws
  • specific knowledge, skills and judgment that a nurse requires to demonstrate competence in your chosen area

Application of standards and relevant laws

You must be familiar with all the College’s standards and guidelines. In addition, you need to be familiar with federal and provincial laws that are applicable to your area of practice. Some laws (such as, the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, Nursing Act, 1991 and Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004) apply to all nurses. Other laws are sector specific (such as, the Public Hospitals Act and Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007). Get to know the federal and provincial laws that are applicable to your area of practice.

Also read: Information for Sponsoring Organization & Supervisor

Page last reviewed March 14, 2019