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Use of Title

Using titles

The use of the title “nurse” carries particular meaning and conveys a level of knowledge and skill in managing the health care of a client. Reserved titles are restricted by the Health Professions Act for use only by the registrants of a regulatory college. Only individuals who are registered with BCCNP may use a reserved nursing title in B.C. and the permission to do so is granted as part of registration with BCCNP.

Test your "use of titles" know-how with the scenarios below, created from real practice support questions.

New grad, new title

Brianna is a new graduate who recently registered with BCCNP. While preparing to write her nursing exam, she is working in her first job as a nurse. During her orientation, a colleague tells her she should sign LGN after her name. Brianna thought she was supposed to use the title RN Provisional but now she’s not sure.

What title can she use?

Brianna is right: she has provisional registration and should use the title Registered Nurse (Provisional) or RN(P). She can sign her documentation as RN(P). When Brianna passes the NCLEX, her provisional registration will automatically convert to practising.

Licensed Graduate Nurses (LGNs) are nurses granted registration with RNABC in B.C. prior to October 1, 1990. This title is no longer issued. An LGN may perform or provide the same service as RNs.  

Role vs. title in documentation

Matt, an LPN,  works as a public health nurse and sees his colleagues using “PHN” when they sign their documentation. When he asks about it, he’s told it stands for Public Health Nurse and more clearly reflects their day-to-day practice and the care they provide. He thought he was supposed to use LPN, but now he’s not sure.

How should he sign his documentation?

While using PHN is optional, Matt should include his title, LPN, when signing his documentation. Nurses are required to sign their client documentation using a title that reflects their registration class, such as LPN, RN, RPN or RN(C).

When Matt signs his documentation and includes his title, he reflects his scope of practice and demonstrates professional accountability and responsibility.


I work in the community and see nurses signing as PHN and HCN. What is the correct nursing title to use in documentation?

​You should use the title that most accurately reflects your registrant class and practice. This might be RN for a registered nurse, LPN for a licensed practical nurse, RPN for registered psychiatric nurse, or RN(C) for a BCCNP-certified registered nurse working in that practice area. Adding your signature and title to your entries on the health record reflects your scope of practice and indicates accountability for your practice. 

Refer to the Use of Titles practice standard for more information.

I work part-time as an RPN and part-time as a real estate agent. Can I put “RPN” on my real estate business cards?

No. Selling real estate is not considered nursing practice. To use the title RPN you need to have practising registration with BCCNP and be in compliance with BCCNP bylaws. You can't use the title RPN for advertising, marketing or promoting services when the main purpose is sales and/or the product is not used to provide nursing services.

Although you cannot use the title "RPN" on your real estate cards, you may use your academic credentials (e.g., BScPN).

For more information about using titles, refer to the Use of Titles practice standard and the BCCNP Bylaws  and/or contact Regulatory Practice Consultation.

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