Registered Psychiatric Nursing in Canada

There are over 6,000 Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) in Canada.  RPNs are autonomous professionals.  They work collaboratively with clients and other health care team members to coordinate health care and provide client-centered services to individuals, families, groups and communities.  RPNs focus on mental developmental health, mental illness and addictions while integrating physical health care and utilizing bio-psycho-social and spiritual models for a holistic approach to care.  The practice of psychiatric nursing occurs within the domains of direct practice, education, administration and research.

The core of psychiatric nursing practice is therapeutic communication and the therapeutic relationship.  Emotion, behaviour and cognition are a major focus in psychiatric nursing practice.  Many psychotherapeutic interventions are performed through the psychiatric nurse’s interaction with the client.  Psychiatric nursing is committed to the prevention of illness and to the promotion and maintenance of optimal health, rehabilitation and recovery.

Currently in Canada the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba regulate and educate psychiatric nurses as a profession distinct from Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and Nurse Practitioners.  The Yukon Territory also regulates RPNs.

For more information about psychiatric nursing practice, contact: