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RPN categories & registration requirements


​This p​age summarizes each type of BCCNP RPN  registration status, and details the relevant registration require​​ments.​

Information about applying to change your registration status can be found on our leaving or returning to nursing practice page​

Practising RPN

​​Practisin​​​g registration is required for those working as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse in British Columbia. To obtain and maintain Practiscing registration with BCCNP, you must demonstrate that you meet the requirements set out in the following Registration Requirement documents: 

Provisional RPN

Provisional (formerly interim) RPN registration may be granted to qualified individuals that have outstanding registration requirements to meet.

The most common situation where provisional RPN registration applies is if you are waiting to write and obtain the results of the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Examination (RPNCE), but otherwise meet all the requirements of practising RPN registration.
Those granted provisional RPN registration are assigned specific conditions that must be met to be eligible for practising RPN registration. For most provisional RPN registrants this includes the condition that they must pass the RPNCE within a specific timeframe.

For more information, visit our provisional registration section.

Non-practising RPN

Non-practising RPN registration is a category of registration available to those who meet the requirements of Practising registration as set out above (with the exception of ‘fitness to practice’), but who are not working as an RPN in British Columbia (for example due to a disability, parental leave, retirement, a career break etc.). Non-practising registrants are not authorized to practise psychiatric nursing in BC.

To be a non-practicing registrant, you must agree to the following undertaking:

  • ​Not to provide the services of the profession of psychiatric nursing in British Columbia; and
  • To use the term “non-practising” in conjunction with any use of the title “registered psychiatric nurse,” a variation of that title, or the abbreviation “RPN.”

Non-practising registrants receive BCCNP communications, can vote in board elections, have the opportunity to volunteer with the college, and otherwise participate as a registrant in BCCNP affairs.

​Note: BCCNP bylaws require that individuals must first demonstrate that they meet all the requirements of practising RPN registration before they are able to become a non-practising registrant.

Temporary RPN (special event)

Temporary RPN (special event) registration is a type of time-limited registration that may be issued to individuals who have practising RPN registration good standing in another Canadian province, if they are participating in a special event. A special event is a non-routine activity that is time-limited, such as a conference or special gathering of people, or a clinical education program. 

Applicants for temporary RPN registration must meet the requirements set out in the following RPN registration requirement documents before they are granted this status:

BCCNP may also seek information from the applicants' current and former employer(s). 

The BCCNP Registration Committee review each application for temporary RPN (special event) registration and will specify the time period that is to be granted on a case by case basis.​

Temporary RPN (emergency)

When an emergency is declared by the BCCNP registrar, the temporary RPN (emergency) registration category allows for the quick and temporary registration of RPNs who meet specific criteria. During such a declared emergency, temporary RPN (emergency) registration is an option for RPNs with current practising registration in good standing, or eligibility for practising registration (or the equivalent thereof) in Canada or in the United States, and/or RPNs (or the equivalent thereof) working with the Canadian or US armed forces. 

BCCNP may also seek information from the applicants' current and former employer(s) as part of the application process. ​

Employed student psychiatric nurse

To work as an employed student psychiatric nurse (ESPN) in B.C., you must have an active ESPN status with BCCNP. Employed Student Registration is subject to the restriction that you can only work under supervision at a specifically-named workplace.

For f​​urther informat​ion, please visit employed student psychiatric nurse section and see the following RPN​ registration requirement documents:

Former registrant

​Former registrant status applies to former registrants who no longer have active registration. Former registrants must not practice psychiatr​​​​ic nursing in BC.​​

 Frequently asked questions

What is "fitness to practice"?

​To help understand what "fitness to practice" is and how it is met as an RPN registration requirement, BCCNP recommends you review the following resources: 

What is "good character"?

​RPNs work in a position of trust while delivering psychiatric nursing services. "Good character" is required of BCCNP registrations to ensure that the public is protected. "Good character" is, however, hard to define in black and white. In many cases, it is actually more recognizable when this quality is not present; for example, if there is evidence of dishonest behaviour, or a lack of personal integrity or ethics. 

The "good character" required of psychiatric nurses is not a standard of perfection, but what might be reasonably considered by the public to be relevant to their psychiatric nursing practice. This can have broader implications than what may first meet the eye. For example, an individual might have shoplifted before even starting their psychiatric nursing education, but this would still raise questions over their general honesty, which is relevant to their practice as an RPN. 

BCCNP recognizes that character can change over time, and that people can reform. We look for evidence of current good character. Therefore, a past convistion, for example, may not be a barrier to registration. 

Given "good character" is hard to define, BCCNP always assesses it on a case-by-case basis. Where relevant to good character, factors such as the passage of time, personal insight and subsequent conduct are taken into account. 

Where good character is called into question, the matter is referred to our Registration Committee ​(RPN applicants) or the Inquiry Committee (RPN registrants). These committees have the power to make decisions as to whether the "good character" requirement is net. 

Please review the good character registration requirement document for more information about how the good character requirement is met.