Practice Standards set out requirements related to specific aspects of nurses'1 practice. They link with other standards, policies and bylaws of the BC College of Nursing Professionals and all legislation relevant to nursing practice.
A key purpose of regulation of health professionals is to protect the public. One aspect of regulation is protecting professional titles to ensure they are used appropriately. Only those individuals who have met the requirements for registration and, once registered, continue to meet the requirements for renewal, may use a protected title. Individuals who do not meet the requirements are not permitted to use a protected title. This legal restriction assures the public that anyone using one of the protected nursing titles is entitled to practise nursing in British Columbia.
BCCNP Bylaws identify each class of registrant within the College and the titles each may use. The
chart below summarizes the titles each class of registrant may use. This Practice Standard provides direction to BCCNP registrants on using their title(s) appropriately.
Individuals within each class of registrant only use the title(s) assigned to them.
Registrants use their title(s) in ways that comply with the:
BCCNP Bylaws, including the bylaws governing marketing or advertising activities;
Nurses (Registered) and Nurse Practitioners Regulation; and
BCCNP Standards of Practice.
When registrants document care or services provided to a client, they specify their:
title that most specifically reflects their class of registrant;
certification if they are on BCCNP's certified practice register [e.g., Registered Nurse (Certified), RN(C)]; and
Stream of practice if they are nurse practitioners [e.g., NP (Adult) or NP(A); NP (Family) or NP(F); NP (Pediatric) or NP(P)].
Students who are enrolled in a BCCNP-recognized education program and who are employed as a nursing student in a health care setting use the title "employed student nurse" or "employed student of nursing" when documenting or providing care or services to a client.
Students who are enrolled in a BCCNP-recognized education program, regardless of their registration status, use the title "student nurse" or "nursing student" when documenting or providing care or services to a client.
Family nurse practitioners who are on the BCCNP-certified practice register and working in a certified practice role use "RN(C)."
Registrants working in a BCCNP-certified practice role use "RN(C)" only when they are working in that role.
Non-practising registrants cannot provide any nursing services, even on a voluntary basis.
Recognize that just because you are using a nursing title, it does not mean you are practising nursing. You may use your nursing title to describe who you are, but you are only practising nursing if you are practising according to the definition of nursing set out in the Nurses (Registered) and Nurse Practitioners Regulation.
Recognize that nurses' scope of practice is reflected in how you document client care and services. Be sure to use the title that most accurately reflects your practice [e.g., "NP(A)" not "NP")]. Also use the most accurate and descriptive title for your class of registrant (e.g., "RN" not "nurse").
If you are BCCNP-certified, you have additional authorities. Use "RN(C)" to denote your authorities when you document care or services provided to a client. If you have any other type of certification (e.g., CNA, BCIT) you can use this term except when documenting care or services provided to a client.
If you are a nurse practitioner, recognize that the clients you care for vary according to whether you are a family, adult or pediatric nurse practitioner. To promote clarity and transparency, use "NP(F)," "NP(A)" or "NP(P)" respectively when documenting care or services to clients and when you write prescriptions, order tests or make referrals.
Review BCCNP's Bylaws on marketing (Section 363(1)) to understand how registrants can market products and services in an ethical and appropriate way. Understand that you cannot use your title in a job in which you predominantly sell products.
Ensure you only use "ESN" when working in your student employment role. Use "SN" in your student role.
If you are working in a role that you are not certain is within the scope of nursing (e.g., providing acupuncture, aromatherapy or reflexology), consult with BCCNP Practice Support about using your title.
If you are a non-practising or retired registrant, be aware that you cannot practise as a nurse and you do not have liability insurance through BCCNP.
If you are moving between different roles, particularly in the same setting, be clear about what role you are in and what title you are using. For example, you might work as a "NP(F)" one day and an "RN(C)" another day, or you might be an "ESN" and a "SN" on different days on the same unit. Wear identification and document as appropriate to your role.
Be aware that if you are a nurse practitioner working as a registered nurse, you are still a nurse practitioner registrant under the Bylaws and have a duty to provide care in an emergency to the standard of a nurse practitioner.
Be aware that your title (e.g., "RN") is granted annually by BCCNP and comes with restrictions about how you can use it. In contrast, you earned your academic credential (e.g., BSN) and there are no restrictions on its use.
If you are registered as a nurse in another province or country, but not in B.C., you can only use your title in the context of where you are actually registered (e.g., I am a registered nurse in Ontario). Do not imply you are registered in B.C. or able to practise in B.C.
Standards of Practice
BCCNP's Standards of Practice (Professional Standards, Practice Standards, and Scope of Practice Standards) set out requirements for practice that registrants must meet. They are available from the Nursing Standards section of the BCCNP website.
For more information on this or any other practice issue, contact BCCNP's Practice Support Services by email at
practice@BCCNP.ca or call 604.742.6200 or toll-free 1.866.880.7101 (Canada only).
Each class of BCCNP registrant has specific restrictions on practice. Restrictions are set out in BCCNP Bylaws, standards and policies.
Grandparented Nurse Practitioner
1 "Nurse" refers to the following BCCNP registrants: registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed graduate nurses, employed student nurses and grandparented student nurses.
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