CRPNBC uses the terms “self-employed” and “independent practice” inter-changeably to refer to registrants who work for themselves, rather than for an employer, in any aspect of their practice.
Like all RPNs, self-employed RPNs are required to practice in accordance with the CRPNBC standards of practice, including our Practice Standards, Professional Standards, Scope of Practice for RPNs: Standards, Limits and Conditions, Code of Ethics, and College Bylaws. However, there are certain aspects of these that have particular importance for RPNs in a self-employed role, and there are additional responsibilities, requirements and guidelines that apply only to self-employed RPNs.
This page is intended as a guide to help you, as a self-employed RPN (or one considering becoming self-employed) identify your primary responsibilities so that you can ensure you practice in line with College standards and Bylaws.
We recommend that RPNs interested in self-employed practice consult a lawyer, accountant and/ or business consultant regarding contracts and business processes.
+ What experience/competency do I need in order to be self-employed?
Prior to entering into self-employment, you must ensure you have the individual competence required for the services you will be providing.
All RPNs are admitted to the CRPNBC register, with the same entry-level competencies, but through experience and learning opportunities you may specialize or develop expertise within specific areas of practice or with specific populations. You may wish to transfer this experience to independent practice.
You must consider the controls on nursing practice, which are defined in the Scope of Practice for RPNs: Standards, Limits and Conditions . You must be aware of your own competence to carry out particular activities, which reflect your level of education, knowledge, skills, experience and currency. You must also assume the responsibility of an employer both for yourself, and any others that you employ. This may involve, among other things, setting policies, adopting decision support tools (DSTs), and ensuring legislation relevant to your practice is followed.
+ Do I need to inform CRPNBC if I am self-employed?
Yes, you must inform CRPNBC as soon as you become self-employed.
Every time you renew your registration or request a change in status you will be asked on the relevant form whether you are self-employed. If you are self-employed you must answer “yes” to this question and provide the additional information requested (your practice area and evidence of your insurance), even if you have previously informed CRPNBC of your self-employment.
+ Do I need additional insurance if I am self-employed?
In accordance with College Bylaws (Section 53.1), as a self-employed registrant you must have additional liability insurance, over and above that included in their Practicing registration fee. A copy of your Certificate of Insurance must be provided to CRPNBC at the following points:
- When you become self-employed
- Upon renewal of your registration; and
- If you are changing your registration status to Practicing after a period of having Non-practicing or Inactive registration.
Please visit our insurance webpage for further information.
Starting a business
+ Can I start my own business as an RPN?
Yes. We recommend you consult a lawyer, accountant and/or business consultant before starting your own business. There are various online resources which you may find helpful, including: BC Registry Services, Canada Business: Starting a Business, and Small Business BC: Starting a Business.
+ Can I incorporate my business?
Yes. Incorporation is a business decision; therefore, we recommend that you consult a lawyer, accountant and/ or business consultant.
+ Can I use a reserved title in the name of my business?
Yes. Under the Nurses (Registered Psychiatric) Regulation, “nurse”, “registered psychiatric nurse” and “psychiatric nurse” are reserved titles. You must request permission from CRPNBC to use any of these in the name of your business. Your request must be made in writing and should include evidence that the purpose of your business is consistent with the Health Professions Act and the CRPNBC Bylaws. This evidence may take the form of a business plan, marketing materials, website design etc.
Additional information on the use of names in business can be found on the BC Registry Services website.
+ Can I use the CRPNBC name or logo in connection with my business?
You may not use the CRPNBC logo in connection with your business.
In addition, you may not make any other representation which would imply your self-employed practice is connected to or endorsed by the College or that you are speaking on behalf of or in any way representing CRPNBC.
+ What about business and service delivery plans?
It is advisable to develop business and service delivery plans, which may include (but may not be limited to):
- Identifying resources to assist you with setting up and maintaining your business.
- Details such as the location of your business, its contact details, and hours of operation.
- Considering elements such as (but not limited to): business structure; registering your business; financing; business records; business insurance; Employment Standards Act; Worksafe, BC coverage; GST payments; income tax.
- Considering how you will take payment from your clients, and developing a fee schedule.
- Developing a plan for any unexpected termination of your business with respect to your business affairs.
- A written outline of the clinical focus and scope of service(s) you will be providing.
- Identifying your qualifications and experience and how these relate to your self-employment.
- Identifying the purpose, goals and expected outcomes of your service(s).
- Identifying how you will ensure you will meet the CRPNBC standards of practice (including our Practice Standards, Professional Standards, Scope of Practice for RPNs: Standards, Limits and Conditions, Code of Ethics, and College Bylaws) in your self-employment.
- Developing strategies for continuously evaluating your practice and service(s).
- Developing a plan for any unexpected termination of your business with respect to your clients.
Responsibilities and Standards of Practice
+ Which specific Standards of Practice apply to self-employed RPNs?
As a self-employed RPN, you are held to the same CRPNBC standards of practice as those who have an employer, including our Practice Standards, Professional Standards, Scope of Practice for RPNs: Standards, Limits and Conditions, and Code of Ethics.
You must also practise according to applicable legislation including the Health Professions Act, the Nurses (Registered Psychiatric) Regulation, and College Bylaws. Part VI the Bylaws relates to ‘Registrant Records for Self-employed Registrants’, which must be adhered to.
+ Are there specific requirements around record keeping for self-employed RPNs?
Yes. As well as the Documentation and Privacy and Confidentiality Practice Standards you must adhere to the CRPNBC Bylaws, Part VI Registrant Records for Self-employed registrants. You should also understand the content of the College Practice Support resource Retention of Health Records, which covers how long health records should be kept.
Business records should be retained as required by the Canada Revenue Agency.
Controls on Practice and Self-Employed RPNs
+ How do the controls on practice impact self-employed RPNs?
As set out in the CRPNBC Scope of Practice for RPNs: Standards, Limits and Conditions, there are four levels of control on RPN practice.
As a self-employed registrant you have an additional requirement to assume the responsibilities of the employer. This may involve, among other things, setting policies, adopting decision support tools (DSTs), and ensuring legislation relevant to your practice is followed.