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Employed student psychiatric nurse registration

COVID-19: Info for student applicants

Student applicants must have a job offer before applying for registration. Students who do not have an employer are not eligible for Employed Student Psychiatric Nurse registration.


If you are currently enrolled in a recognized psychiatric nursing education program, meet the registration requirement​s and have an employment offer with a BC health authority, you are eligible to apply for employed student psychiatric nurse (ESPN) status. Check out the FAQ page​ and follow the steps below to apply.

1. Prepare your documents

​Your BCCNP application will be completed online, but you'll need to provide some additional documentation: 

Note: Your documents must be current within 60 days of your completed application. ​

2. Apply
  • Create a BCCNP account
  • Complete and submit your application for employed student psychiatric nurse registration, including required documents and the assessment fee.

Note: As part of your application, you will be asked to consent to a Criminal Records Review Act criminal record check​

3. Review by BCCNP

​Our review of your initial application may indicate the further documentation is required. If so, we will request this from you directly.

4. Application approval and payment

​If your application is approved, you will receive​ an email containing instructions detailing how to pay for your registration​. Only once payment is made will your registration be granted. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic

Applicants will need to pay the application, registration, and CNPS fees to obtain practising ESPN registration.

BCCNP will refund the application fee and a pro-rated registration fee to those who obtain practising ESPN registration during the pandemic. Refunds will be processed once the pandemic is declared ended.

For students graduating this year who register during the pandemic and will be taking out provisional registration, BCCNP will apply their registration fees to their provisional registration.

 Ready to apply?

​​​The online application process takes 20-30 minutes.

Choose one option:

Create an on​line account


Sign in to your online a​ccount ​
(use this option if you have already started your online application)​​

 Employed student psychiatric nurse practice responsibilities

ESPNs are at all times responsible and accountable for their practice, and all the documents referenced below are applicable to them even if the documents refer to Registered Psychiatric Nurses and not to ESPNs.
ESPN registrant practice responsibilities

​The practice of employed student psychiatric nurses is one of consolidation of current learning, working within the competencies they have attained from learning activities in their educational program. ​

Employed Student Psychiatric Nurses must:

  • Maintain current registration with BCCNP
  • Maintain enrollment in a recognized entry-level psychiatric nursing education program
  • Work only in the specific workplace they are authorized to work in
  • Work under the supervision of a named Registered Psychiatric Nurse(s) who is physically present and readily available to provide direction
  • Never be solely responsible for the care of patients
  • Work within the competencies they have attained from learning activities in their educational program
  • Practice within their competence level and in accordance with BCCNP's Standards of Practice​ and employer policies specific to the role of the ESPN
  • Not supervise other workers or students​
Use of title

​The BCCNP practice standard Appropriate Use of Title ​requires employed student registrants to use the title “employed student psychiatric nurse”(ESPN) in order to clarify to others that the student’s registration status is that of a learner and not a fully qualified professional.

Practice standards specific to ESPNs

​The following practice standards are specific to psychiatric nursing students:

Besides the two practice standards specific to psychiatric nursing students and the Appropriate Use of Title standard mentioned above, there are many other practice standards that pertain to ESPNs. Practice standards​ set out baseline requirements for specific aspects of psychiatric nursing practice and interact with other requirements such as the Code of Ethics, Professional Standards for Psychiatric Nursing, and BCCNP Bylaws.​ 
Professional standards for psychiatric nursing

The Professional Standards for Psychiatric Nursing​ describe in broad terms the expected level of performance of all registered psychiatric nurses and were developed for national use by the Registered Psychiatric Nurse Regulators of Canada. To the extent they are applicable, these expectations also apply to ESPNs. The Professional Standards cover:​

  • Standard 1: Therapeutic Relationships
  • Standard 2: Application and Integration of Theory-Based Knowledge
  • Standard 3: Professional Responsibility
  • Standard 4: Professional Ethics
Code of ethics

​The Code of Ethics​ are guidelines that articulate an acceptable set of behaviours for registered psychiatric nurses (and ESPNs). They set out a framework for professional responsibility and accountability which promote high ethical standards in practice. They uphold the following values:

  • Safe, competent and ethical practice to ensure the protection of the public
  • Respect for the inherent worth, right of choice, and dignity of persons
  • Health, mental health, and well-being
  • Quality practice
Scope of Practice - Standards, Limits and Conditions

​"Scope of practice" refers to the activities that RPNs are educated and authorized to perform. "Limits and conditions" refer to restrictions that narrow the scope of practice or place conditions before the activities within scope can be carried out. 

An ESPN’s scope of practice is limited to those nursing activities within the competencies learned in their education programs and permitted by the employer. The Scope of Practice for RPNs: Standards, Limits and Conditions​ provides more details.​


 Have a practice question?

If you are ESPN and have practice concern, speak to your supervising RPN first and, if necessary, contact a BCCNP practice consultant by email at​.

 Registration categories and requirements

​We ​recommend you review the reg​istration categories and requirements before applying for any class of registration with BCCNP.