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RPN practice hours

Summary of requirem​​​ent 

Registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs) must demonstrate that in the five years immediately before apply​​ing for practising RPN registration or renewing their practising RPN, registration they have practised 1,400 hours as an RPN or completed an approved psychiatric nursing education program. Practising RPNs must also meet Quality Assurance requirements.

Who does this requirem​​ent ​​​apply to? 

This requirement applies to anyone applying for RPN registration with BCCNP, and to all registrants who are renewing their practising RPN registration. 

How do I meet the practice hours requ​​​​ireme​​​nt?​

Demonstrating currency:


To maintain curren​​cy in practice as an RPN, you must have done one of the following:​



Graduated from a recognized entry or re-entry level psychiatric nursing education program in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba, or from a psyc​​hiatric nursing program approved by the BCCNP, in the preceding five years.



Demonstrated t​​o the satisfaction of the BCCNP Registration Committee that you have completed 1,400 hours of practice as an RPN within the preceding five years.


If you are not able to demonstrate that you meet the requirements set out at 1.a. or 1.b., above, you may have the opportunity to demonstrate to the Registration Committee,​​ via a competency assessment, that you have the competencies required for practising RPN registration. This may apply in the following circumstances:



If you are an RPN applicant who has completed a psychiatric nursing education program, but you do not meet the requirements set out in the document Registration Requirement: Education​ and/or you have not completed 1,400 hours of psychiatric nursing practice within the preceding five years.



If you are an RPN registrant and want to renew your registration.

Report​ing and calculating practice hours 


If you are a current RPN registrant, each year that you apply to renew your practising registration you must declare the number of hours you have practised psychiatric nursing in the preceding calen​​dar year.


For hours practised as an RPN in B.C . in the last calendar year, you may self-declare your hours during the renewal p​​rocess. 


For hours practis​​​ed as an RPN outside of B.C., or in previous years, you must have your employer(s) provide BCCNP with confirmation of these psychiatric nursing practice hours.


For practising RPN registrants of BCCNP, psy​chiatric nursing practice hours will be recognized as follows:



If your job description is consistent with the definition of psychiatric nursing,1 and req​​uires a regulated health professional to hold the position you may declare the hours worked as psychiatric nursing practice.



If you are self-employed in psychiatric nursing practice and wish to declare those hours as psychiatric nursing practice hours, you must ensure your practice is consistent with the description of psychiatric nursing.1



If you are working in a voluntary role and wish those hours to be counted as psychiatric nursing practice, you must submit a request to a BCCNP Committee explaining why you believe the hours are consistent with the definition of psychiatric nursing.1


For applicants and former and non-practising registrants, practice hours will be counted if, at the time the psychiatric nursing practice hours were worked, you held a valid registration with a regulatory authority that regulates psychiatric nurses.


You must also meet the Quality Assurance requirements.


The following definitions are from the Nurses (Registered Psychiatric) Regulation​.

Practice means any role, whether employed or not, in which the RPN uses their skills and knowledge as a psychiatric nurse. Practice includes dire​​ct care, teaching, management, and research.

Psychiatric nursing is described as the health profession in which a person provides the following services:

Health care for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of health, with a focus on psychosocial, mental or emotional health


Prevention, treatment and palliation of illness and injury, with a focus on psychosocial, mental or emotional disorders or conditions and associated or comorbid physiological conditions, primarily by assessing health status, planning, implementing and evaluating interventions, and coordinating health services.​


All practising registrants interested in QA support are encouraged to contact us