NCAS is the Nursing Community Assessment Service, an independent program within the BC College of Nurses and Midwives.
We operate in British Columbia and Maritime Canada to deliver a competency assessment for internationally educated health practitioners (IEPs) seeking licensure in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
NCAS is one critical tool that our community partners use to determine whether IEPs are ready to practice safely, ethically, and competently in their provincial workforce. It's made up of multiple assessments: a Computer-based Assessment and a Simulation Lab Assessment, which may include an Oral Assessment that would take place at the same time as the SLA. Both the CBA and SLA are necessary to complete the assessment process.
NCAS offers a consistent approach for evaluating the extent to which an IEP's competencies are substantially equivalent to those of a Canadian health professional entering practice. NCAS also provides an opportunity for internationally educated and re-entry nurses to demonstrate their current competence to practice, competence that may not have been evidenced by a paper assessment. The NCAS assessment process is a mandatory registration requirement for some regulatory organizations.
In British Columbia, we offer competency assessments for four healthcare professions seeking licensure in the province:
We also assess health care professionals returning to practice, and health care assistants trained in other jurisdictions .
In Maritime Canada, we offer competency assessments for two nursing professions:
In British Columbia, we accept candidate referrals from the BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry, and the BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM).
In Maritime Canada, we accept candidate referrals from the Nova Scotia College of Nursing (NSCN), the College of Registered Nurses of Prince Edward Island (CRNPEI), and the Nurses Association of New Brunswick (NANB).
NCAS was born of the collaborative efforts of the BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry, the BC College of Nurses and Midwives, as well as the Government of BC's Ministry of Health. BCCNM is currently acting as the operator of NCAS.
The Ministry of Health provided foundational support during the pilot phase of NCAS, and continues to fund NCAS as it transitions towards full operations and sustainability.
NCAS is the only competency assessment service that allows an applicant to have their skills and competencies assessed for two different health care roles at once. Thus, a registered nurse can be assessed for competency as a licensed practical nurse, and a licensed practical nurse can be assessed for competency as a health care aide.
The advantage of this approach is that applicants who may not be able to demonstrate all the requisite competencies to enter the workforce in the role they prefer, might be able to work as a different kind of healthcare worker if they can demonstrate the competencies for that other role. That means that IEPs can enter the workforce faster, and simultaneously pursue the upgrading or education required to gain competencies for their preferred role.
If you think you want to be assessed for two professions, please consider doing so from the outset as you will save a great deal of time and money.
** At this time, dual-role assessments are offered only in British Columbia and Nova Scotia.
What happens after NCAS?
Once you complete all three assessments, we will send you and the nursing regulator or registry a report on the results. The results will be available within 60 days. Those results highlight competency strengths and gaps. Regulators and the registry use these results, along with other information they have obtained from you, to help them make their registration decisions. It is important to note that NCAS does not make registration decisions.