Adapting to Change
We appreciate the downstream effects of our licensing decisions on access to care and quality of care. When evaluating an application for licensure, we are guided by a commitment to license competent physicians, to not license incompetent physicians, and to only license physicians to the limits of their competence. To do so effectively, it is incumbent on the College to respond and adapt to the ever-changing healthcare landscape.
COVID-19 brought countless challenges, requiring fast action on our part to enable physicians to contribute to the pandemic response. Many candidates were unable to challenge the exams required for full licensure. In response, the College expanded its approach to provisional licensure. We are grateful to the many sponsors and supervisors who stepped forward, enabling the newly and provisionally licensed physicians to practice.
COVID-19 brought countless challenges, requiring fast action on our part to enable physicians to contribute to the pandemic response.
The College led the way among regulators in responding to the postponement of the Medical Council of Canada’s Qualifying Examinations Part II (MCCQEII). The College instituted a new policy in recognition of the postponement of the MCCQEII, one that has since been adopted by Ontario, allowing appropriate candidates a route to full licensure without this qualification.
The College continues to work closely with Nova Scotia Health to license those retired physicians wishing to assist in the COVID-19 immunization efforts, without fee. We have put a streamlined process in place to quickly issue such licences, with minimal administrative burden.
On a regional and national scale, the College is committed to promoting physician mobility. We license physicians on an emergency basis and are one- of five signatory colleges to fast-track applications from fully licensed physicians from other provinces.
Providing PATHWAYS TO LICENSURE
When physicians have not obtained the minimum licensing requirements, such as successful completion of certification or appropriate training, the College offers alternative pathways to licensure. Most often, these physicians are internationally trained. The challenge for the College is to assess whether the training and competencies of the physician are in keeping with Canadian standards. This cannot simply be achieved by way of a written exam. Such pathways often rest on the foundation of the science of assessment.
In the last two years, eight physicians have been successful in achieving provisional licensure and are now practising in under-serviced communities around the province.
Assessing readiness to Practice
For internationally trained family physicians, the Nova Scotia Practice Ready Assessment Program (NSPRAP) ensures that international medical graduates (IMGs) possess the appropriate clinical skills and knowledge to be licensed to practice in Nova Scotia.
Candidates apply to the College to determine eligibility for the program. Those candidates deemed eligible are referred to the NSPRAP which then decides which candidates will be accepted into the program. The College issues appropriate licensure refers the candidate back to the program for the assessment, and the results in turn are reviewed by the College for determination for ongoing licensure.
The Nova Scotia Practice Ready Assessment Program is a collaborative effort with Dalhousie University Department of Family Medicine, Nova Scotia Health, Department of Health and Wellness, and the College.
This program is a collaborative effort with Dalhousie University Department of Family Medicine, Nova Scotia Health, Department of Health and Wellness, and the College.
As the program enters its third year, the College has evaluated 110 applications, recommending 50 for the program. In the last two years, eight physicians have been successful in achieving provisional licensure and are now practising in under-serviced communities around the province.
Practice Ready Assessments are also available for specialists outside of Family Medicine. They are undertaken on a case-by-case basis, in collaboration with the College, Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine, Nova Scotia Health or IWK Health Centre, and the Department of Health & Wellness.
GRANTING RESTRICTED LICENSURE
On occasion, the College will conduct a Comprehensive Clinical Assessment of Practice to determine whether a physician who is unable to achieve full licensure is appropriate for a Restricted licence. These are complex exercises, requiring the collaboration of the physician, Dalhousie University, the health authorities, and the Department of Health & Wellness.
The Restricted licence is renewable annually and allows physicians to practice within a limited scope. The aim is to serve the public by maintaining the physician in a scope of practice that aligns with the demonstrated competencies of the physician.