About nursing in Canada

About nursing in Canada

Requirements for Internationally Educated Nurses

To become a nurse in Canada, one must have a nursing degree that included theoretical and clinical experience in the areas of medicine, surgery, obstetrics (maternity), pediatrics (children's nursing), psychiatry (mental health), as well as gerontology and community health. (Some territories may require additional schooling).The nursing degree must have been earned after a secondary education (high school).

The applicant must be proficient in both written and spoken English to ensure safe nursing practice.The applicant must have a nursing license in good standing in the country where the nursing degree was earned.The applicant must have worked as a nurse for at least 1125 hours in the last 5 years. (Not required in some territories)

Application Process for the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE)

To write the CRNE and become registered in one of the provinces or territories in Canada, applicant must apply to the nursing regulatory body in that province or territory. The regulatory body will provide the applicant with the application forms needed and will be informed about the application process. It will also advise the applicant of eligibility to take the CRNE and inform the same of upcoming CRNE dates in the relevant jurisdiction.


All authority to take the actual CRNE and become registered is given by the nursing regulatory bodies. Links to Canadian nursing regulatory bodies are found at http://www.cna-aiic.ca/CNA/about/members/provincial/default_e.aspx


Taking the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination: June 2010 – May 2015


The Canadian Registered Nurse Exam (CRNE) consists solely of multiple-choice questions. For details about the exam, please read the information below.

Each provincial or territorial nursing regulatory body in Canada is responsible for ensuring that the individuals it registers as nurses meet an acceptable level of competence before beginning to practice.

The level of competence of registered nurses in all provinces and territories except Quebec is measured, in part, by the CRNE. The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) develops and maintains the CRNE through its testing company, Assessment Strategies Inc., and in collaboration with the regulatory authorities. The provincial and territorial nursing regulatory authorities administer the exam and determine eligibility to write it.

The purpose of the CRNE is to protect the public by ensuring that the entry-level registered nurse possesses the competencies required to practise safely and effectively.

Examination Length and Format: There are about 200 multiple-choice questions on the exam.

Question Presentation

Of the approximately 200 multiple-choice questions on the CRNE, some are presented as independent questions and some are presented within cases. Case-based questions include a set of three to five questions associated with a brief health-care scenario. Independent questions contain the information necessary to answer the questions.

What Is Tested With the CRNE

The following text is taken from the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination Prep Guide (2010). There are 148 competencies that make up the content domain for the CRNE. Each question on the CRNE is linked to one of these competencies.

Competency Framework

The competency framework identifies and organizes the competencies that the CRNE should assess, reflecting a primary health-care nursing model. The framework and definitions of the four competency categories presented below are relevant to the June 2010-May 2015 exam. Because some of the competencies lend themselves to one or more categories, these four categories should be viewed simply as an organizing mechanism.

Exam Schedules
CNA offers the CRNE three times per year. The exam administration dates for 2011 are:

February 2, 2011
June 1, 2011
October 5, 2011


All authority to take the CRNE and become registered is given by your nursing regulatory authority. Please note that the exam may not be offered on all of the dates above in your province or territory. Deadlines for applying to take the CRNE are usually well in advance of the exam dates.

Contact your regulatory authority for more information. If you are a student graduating from a Canadian nursing education program, your program should show you how to apply to write the CRNE and become licensed in your province or  territory.

Canadian Licensing Authorities

British Columbia - http://www.crnbc.ca/
Manitoba - http://www.crnm.mb.ca/
New Brunswick - http://www.nanb.nb.ca/
Newfoundland and Labrador - http://www.arnnl.nf.ca/
Northwest Territories and Nunavut - http://www.rnantnu.ca/
Nova Scotia - http://www.crnns.ca/
Ontario - http://www.cno.org/
Prince Edward Island - http://www.arnpei.ca/
Quebec - http://www.oiiq.org/
Saskatchewan - http://www.srna.org/
Yukon -http://www.yrna.ca/
Alberta - http://www.nurses.ab.ca/Carna/index.aspx


Source: Canadian Nurses Association