Wednesday, August 03, 2011

CRNBC IEN SEC assessment possible outcomes

Disclaimer: This post is not based on the official CRNBC information. It is based on my understanding and my encounters with others on the path to getting their Registered Nurse (RN) qualifications/experience recognized here in Canada. Thus, the information below may or may not be updated or factually correct. I do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information provided by me. Under no circumstances will I or anyone related to this content be responsible for any loss or damage resulting from any reliance on the information or other content posted or linked by me. For the official information, please go to the links below.

CRNBC website

Nursing in BC website


After the CRNBC IEN SEC (College of Registered Nurses of B.C. - Internationally Educated Nurses - Substantially Equivalent Competency) assessment there can be 4 possible outcomes.
  1. Can start immediately - Provisional license is granted for immediate employment as a provisional RN. I have not personally met anyone under this category but it is a possibility.
    [Addendum on 13-Feb-2012]
    One of my classmate's spouse is a Filipino-trained nurse who did well enough to be in this category. She did her supervised practice but failed in the CRNE. Thus she plans to re-attempt the CRNE at a future date.

    [Addendum on 02-Apr-2012]
    Today, 2 South Asian classmates told me about a Singapore-trained RN whom they both know, who has only 2 months of nursing work experience in Singapore. The Singapore RN passed the CRNBC SEC assessment, obtained her provisional licence and started her supervised practice immediately.
  2. Can start after completing a few short courses - Provisional license will be granted after the applicant completes a few short courses (some may even be done online if preferred). I have recently met a registered nurse from Philippines with 3+ years of Medical/Surgical ward experience who said that he has only 3 short courses to complete, including one on the B.C. health care system.

  3. Can start after completing a 1-year re-entry course - Provisional license will be granted after the applicant completes a 1-year full-time nursing re-entry course. My case.

  4. Not accepted for registered nursing in B.C. That is, the applicant is required to complete an entire basic nursing education program before being considered for provisional registration. Again, I have not personally met anyone under this category. [Addendum on 20-Jan-2012] I just learned from a GNIE classmate that there are those who failed the SEC and had to re-do the entire 4 years of basic nursing education as their next step.
I have a friend who originated from China, did her initial nursing education (in Mandarin Chinese) and practiced as a registered nurse in China. Thereafter, she migrated to Singapore and practiced as a registered nurse in a Medical/Surgical ward for 6 years. In 2010, she migrated once again -- to Canada. She did the IEN SEC in Alberta earlier this year (spring 2011) and fared pretty well, requiring to complete only a few short courses before she can obtain her provisional license from Alberta. The short courses include Professional English, the Canadian health care system, physical examination & health assessment and O&G courses. As B.C. recognizes nursing registration from the other Canadian provinces, my friend plans to practice in B.C. after applying to transfer her registration.

Based on the above, unless one fails the IEN SEC assessment (i.e. situation 4 listed above), entering registered nursing in B.C. is a good possibility, albeit one that may take time, patience and some financial resources. [Click here, here and here for more information.]


  1. Hi there,

    Would you mind sharing your experience with me as I am about to submit my application to CRNBC. I am 100% sure that I'll undergo SEC assessment too. My concern is that I have no hospital or clinical experience at all. I graduated last 2007, unfortunately I was not able to practice my profession while I was still in the Philippines. We just got here in Surrey BC and I am very desperate to become an RN here. I'm planning to study hard as I can, and even take a refresher course for a couple of months in preparation to SEC, or do you know someone who offers to help people like me in reviewing for SEC? thank you so much for your help


  2. Hi Raine,

    Thanks for dropping by and your comment. My response exceeded the 4,096 characters limit for Blogger comment, so I am posting it as a blog entry instead.

    I hope the above helps.

    Best Regards, WD.

  3. I stumbled upon this very informative site since I'm also wanting to be a registered nurse in BC. I am on the same boat with Raine though I am now waiting for my SEC assessment schedule. Would you happen to know any preparation courses for the SEC? I know someone who also failed the SEC and was advised to repeat the whole 4yr course.

    1. Hi Anon,

      Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving a comment. Regarding my 2 cents on how to prepare for the SEC, see the blog entry "IEN preparing to apply to CRNBC" section (B) "PREPARING FOR SEC".

      From the blog referring sites stats, it does look like some SEC attendees are clicking onto my blog for info. I will try to write more about what I learnt from my GNIE training (Graduate Nurse Internationally Educated) when I have time. Meanwhile, click the "Nursing in Canada" link on the top right to view related blog entries.

      Cheers, WD.

  4. for anonymous... just wondering how your sec results? we have the same situation.

  5. Are there any international nurses that was not required to sit SEC assessment

    1. Hi Anonymous on Friday, March 29, 2013 6:47:00 PM,

      I do not know of any internationally educated nurses (IENs) who applied since late-2009 who were not required to sit the SEC assessment. According to CRNBC, they started using the SEC since 2008.

      Hearsay (i.e. totally unverified rumours) has it that earlier batches of IENs (possible pre-2008) had a choice of doing the SEC or a 1 year re-entry program. That is no longer valid now.

      Cheers, WD.

  6. Hi,

    am an IEN ,but hold a rn license with another canadian province and worked in that province only 200 hrs.

    Do you know SEC assessment for such cases?

    how it is done and any preparation i should consider?

    Thank you for your time


    1. Hi Simi,

      Thanks for visiting.

      Sorry, I do not know the SEC assessment for such cases. I do not personally know of anyone who had to undergone that.

      That said, as far as I know, there is only one SEC assessment facility in B.C. -- currently located at Langley campus of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

      If you read carefully on the requirements from the CRNBC website RNs from other Provinces/Territories, it is stated that you can circumvent this requirement by having "practised in the other Canadian jurisdiction for a minimum of .5 of fulltime for at least 12 months preceding the date of application".

      I know an IEN who:
      (a) met the "more than 0.5 FTE for the preceding 12 months" requirement (i.e. worked more that 850hr), and
      (b) is moving her registration from Alberta (a province that has "a congruent process to CRNBC for demonstrating substantially equivalent competence") to BC.

      She only had to submit documentation of her Alberta RN work experience, take a CRNBC-recognized English test (e.g. IELTS or CELBAN), do the standard Statutory Declaration and Criminal Record Check.

      If SEC is an issue for you, perhaps you may like to consider meeting that 0.5 FTE requirement. As far as I know, if you decide to opt for the CRNBC SEC, please be aware that the assessment report of the SEC is binding (unless you have grounds to challenge otherwise) for the during of its validity period (3 years).

      As with all comments, opinions, information and links on my blog, please take them at your own risk. For the real answers, please do not be shy to check with the real McCoy (i.e. please ask CRNBC directly).

      Cheers, WD.

  7. Hi,

    thanks for the reply.

    I received provisional license today and i have to work for around 1000hrs for geting full license.

    Do you have any thoughts on applying for a job with provisional license?.Any websites or employer?

    Thanks for your time

    simi shai

    1. Hi Simi,

      This is the first time that I've heard of a 1,000 hours requirement to move from a provisional RN licence to a full RN licence.

      In the past, IENs had faced a lot of issues trying to find employers willing to hire them on a provisional licence. As a result, many ended up "volunteering" their services to meet the 250hours Canadian Reference Requirement. Since March 2013, there has been a change in policy. If one passes the SEC currently, one does not need a Canadian Employer Reference. This was the change that my batch of GNIE students petitioned for with the help of BCNU and others.

      One approach that a couple of my classmates used (prior to announcement of the change in the above Canadian Reference Requirement policy) was to "borrow" money from S.U.C.C.E.S.S. B.C. under the FCR Loan (Foreign Credential Recognition).

      From what I understand, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. B.C. may assign you a career counsellor to guide you after you've successfully applied for the FCR loan. One of the related services that the career counsellors offer their clients (i.e. people who took the FCR Loans) is to help match the job-seeker to volunteer opportunities in his/her professional roles, with some honorarium pay (i.e. not professional pay-rate) funded by the provincial government through S.UC.C.E.S.S. B.C.

      Note: This above is what I gathered from others. I did not take a FCR Loan and did not go through the process described above. So please take the above information at your own risk.

      Best Regards, WD.

  8. Hi,

    Thank you for the reply.

    I am doing some research in this regard now. I dont know what is going to happen. Let us wait and see.

    Once again thank you for creating such a wonderful website for IEN. I would say it is one of the most useful site I have ever visited. May God bless you.

    Thanks again


    1. Hi simi,

      You're welcome and thanks for visiting.

      If you have the time and are willing to share, it would help other IENs if you blog about your experience too. That way, others can learn about different IENs' experience. E.g. Having to work 1,000 hours under the Provisional Licence is new to me (and probably other IENs too).

      Good luck on your research. Do feel free to drop-by to update us on what happened with your 1,000 hours requirement and how you managed to remove it or fulfil it.

      Best Regards, WD.

  9. Hi,

    First off, thank you very much for the information provided here. The following happened with my wife 2 years ago, too bad I just found your blog.
    So my wife has 10+ years of nursing and physician experience from the Philippines. Her SEC written exam at CRNBC was excellent. However during the role-play assessment the "patient" (a student from KPA) wasn't sure what symptoms he should have displayed. At the end my wife got into an argument with the examiner and got failed with the dreaded "need to take Kwantlen's 4 year course". She tried to appeal to the board but they discouraged her saying that she will need to hire a lawyer and it's a lengthy and expensive process.
    So I was wondering
    - How is it possible that Kwantlen has this clear conflict of interest for years and nobody blows a whistle?
    - How come there are no witnesses/videotape of the exam when it has such a life changing importance?
    - What would be our option? We don't want to give up everything and move to Toronto or to the states just to try it again?

    Thank you very much,

    1. Hi Peter,

      You're welcome. The information provided here is based on my understanding and my encounters with others on the path to getting their Registered Nurse (RN) qualifications/experience recognized here in Canada. No guarantee of the correctness and/or completeness of the information provided.

      > So my wife has 10+ years of nursing and physician experience from the Philippines.

      Firstly, past experience has little bearing to the actual performance at an SEC assessment. Remember: SEC is assessing for skills, knowledge and ability to function in Canadian context as compared with "entry-level competencies" of a freshly graduated Canadian educated/trained RN. As mentioned in this blog post and its comments, there were newly graduated IENs and/or those with only months of nursing experience who passed the SEC. There are also cases, like your wife, with years of clinical experience but fail the SEC nevertheless.

      > my wife got into an argument with the examiner

      The letter stating the result of the SEC assessment also states how to appeal. It is up to the candidate to decide whether to appeal to CRNBC, regardless of encouragement or discouragement from anyone. Change comes from having the courage to advocate for it and the wisdom to select an appropriate strategy. I may be jumping to conclusion here, so correct me if I'm wrong: based on what you wrote that "my wife got into an argument with the examiner", it hardly seemed like an appropriate strategy was used.

      > How is it possible that Kwantlen has this clear conflict of interest for years and nobody blows a whistle?

      Kwantlen and CRNBC are 2 independent entities. Kwantlen provides IEN Assessment Services on behalf of CRNBC, but the assessment is done independently of other Kwantlen's education programs. So I don't quite understand your statement that there is a "clear conflict of interest". Perhaps you can elaborate on your line of thought?

      > How come there are no witnesses/videotape of the exam when it has such a life changing importance?

      The candidate can provide feedback/suggestion to CRNBC to provide the option of videotaping the assessment process in future. Note: In Canada, respect for individual's privacy is highly valued, so anyone who may be videotaped in the process (assessor, candidate, role-play patient) must be aware and agree to be videotaped. If you want to improve the system, you have to feedback through the appropriate channel.

      > What would be our option? We don't want to give up everything and move to Toronto or to the states just to try it again?

      Your options depends on why your wife wants to be an RN in B.C. within the larger context of your migration journey as a family. After all, you've already spent 2 years here in B.C. after undergoing the unsuccessful SEC attempt -- what have you and your wife been doing about building your life in B.C. during this period? What is the "everything" that you've build up here that you "don't want to give up"? Only you can decide on what-is vs what-isn't an option for you.

      Perhaps you can speak with professionals who counsel IENs. I suggest approaching the following organizations.

      CRNBC Information Sessions - get advice straight from the horses mouth

      MOSAIC Immigrant Settlement Services

      Douglas College Skills Connect for Immigrants

      BCNU (B.C. Nurses Union) Workers Of Colour Caucus

      Cheers, WD

    2. Hello every one. Thank you for your useful information. Do you think having work experience in the last 5 years ia advantegous for registration? I am an IEN and I know that I will be gone throguh sec assessment for evaluation. I am worried that they may ask me to go and redo 4 year nursing course as I do not have any work experience in the recent 5 years. Please help me with this question. I appreciate it. Sami

    3. Hi Sami,

      Please see my reply to "Anonymous on Monday, June 01, 2015 8:41:00 PM" below.

      Cheers, WD.

  10. Hi every one. Thank you for the useful information. I am an IEN graduated 10 years ago with no work experience in the last 5 five years. I know that I will be gone under sec asseeement by CRNBC! I am worried that they may ask me to go and do the nursing course for 4 years after SEC assesent due to not having recent work eperience. Do you think having work experience is advantageous for tegistration or it does not make difference. Please guide me. I appreciate your help.

    1. Hi Anonymous on Monday, June 01, 2015 8:41:00 PM,

      Back in 08th-Jan-2012, when I wrote my other blog post "IEN preparing to apply to CRNBC ", an IEN applying to register with the CRNBC was required to COMPLETE at least one of the following within the last 5 years.
      a. worked as an RN for 1,125hrs
      b. completed a nursing re-entry program
      c. graduated from a basic nursing education program.

      However, the CRNBC registration process for IENs have changed significantly since, so the above may no longer hold true.

      My suggestion to you is:

      a. If you're still in a country where you have the license to practice as a RN (e.g. your country of origin), then put your registration to use and gain 1250 hours of work experience.

      b. If you're already in B.C., Canada, attend one of the CRNBC's information sessions.

      I strongly suggest that you ask CRNBC directly as rules change, no point relying on hearsay feedback that may already be outdated.

      Cheers, WD.

  11. Hi, I am so thankful I stumbled upon your blog. I read your replies to comments and I am in the same boat as these people preparing for the SEC. I understand that based on your opinion you don't suggest going to a prep course, may I ask why? I am contemplating on paying a reviewer for the SEC (mind you it is very pricey) How will this affect my application. I have read that CRNBC does not acknowledge any prep courses and that if you go through a review class you will have to take additional courses. I dont understand this part. There is another prep course being offered that says they can simulate an SEC-like assessment to better prepare you for the assessment. Although I am hesitant to attend it is very tempting and like I said I am considering attending but I am also afraid that i am putting my application at risk.

    1. Hi Anonymous on Thursday, October 15, 2015 12:34:00 AM,

      Going to prep courses for SEC will not affect your CRNBC application at all.

      It is just my opinion that if one has been practising as an RN, revising based on the previous CRNE or NCLEX-RN is good enough. That said, I personally did not go to any prep course so I cannot honestly comment on any of them.

      My opinion is based on the assumption that as a new immigrant, cashflow management is critical, so no point wasting good money if the ROI (return on investment) is not up to par. Of course, if cost is not an issue, then spend away! Only you can decide if the prep course is worth it or otherwise.

      Cheers, WD.

  12. Hello,

    I find your blog helpful. I just have a question, if you're already an LPN in canada and you did your SEC assessment, is it advantageous for the part of the person when they will assess or decide what to do based on your exam? Is being an LPN helpful so that the person could just go for 1 yr bridging? Thank you.

    1. Hello KMG,

      Just a clarification, I did not have LPN licence in Canada, so what I share is based on the LPNs that I have met. Nursing accreditation has changed significantly since this 4 years-old blog entry.

      A new system has been in placed for IEN (Internationally Educated Nurses) registration.

      If you can't decide which path to take to get accredited, I suggest checking-out / Google-about the "B.C. Nursing Community Assessment Service". It should be in place by March 2016.

      Cheers, WD.