Registration Types and Requirements

Practicing registration is required for those working as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse in British Columbia. In order to obtain Practicing registration with CRPNBC, you must meet all Bylaw requirements. Consistent with Bylaw 41(1), you must:

  1. Have graduated within the last 4 years from an approved program [Bylaw Schedule G] or otherwise meet the educational requirements (such as through a refresher program);
  2. Pay the required fees, in line with the College fee schedule;
  3. Have passed the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Examination;
  4. Provide evidence of competence to practise psychiatric nursing, as required by the College. This will shortly include completion of an online learning module (see below for further information);
  5. Provide evidence of good character – this requires the applicant to complete a Disclosure and Declaration (see below), and provide a criminal record check;
  6. Provide evidence of fitness to practice – this requires the applicant to complete a Disclosure and Declaration (see below);
  7. Provide the required documents.

New requirement – online learning module

As of January 1, 2017, all those applying for their first Practicing registration must successfully complete the CRPNBC online learning module Introduction to BC RPN’s Ethical, Professional and Legal Responsibilities prior to registration with the College. If you have already completed the module as part of the application process for Interim registration, you will not be required to complete it a second time. Access to the module is provided as part of the application process. There is no fee for taking the module, and it is typically completed in 2-4 hours.


  1. Have you ever been convicted in Canada or elsewhere of a criminal or other offence (excepting any pardoned offences)? What year was the conviction?
  2. Have you been arrested or charged with an offence where the outcome is still pending?
  3. Have you ever been the subject of a denial, revocation, suspension or surrender of registration or license with a regulatory body for a profession in any jurisdiction?
  4. Have you ever been disciplined by a regulatory body for a profession in any jurisdiction, or resolved a complaint by agreement with such a body?
  5. Are you, or have you ever been, the subject of an investigation, review or proceeding by any organization regarding your conduct?
  6. Have you ever had limits, restrictions or conditions imposed on your registration or license by a regulatory body for a profession in any jurisdiction?
  7. Are you affected by a physical or mental condition or addiction to alcohol or drugs that reasonably could impair your ability to practice psychiatric nursing?

If you answer “yes” to any of the above, CRPNBC will require additional information. This may include information about your criminal history, your current or previous regulatory interactions with other regulators, or information about your medical condition.


I solemnly declare the following to be true:

  • the information in this form is accurate and complete;
  • I have accurately updated my information in My Record;
  • I am of good character;
  • if I am applying for Practicing registration, I am fit to practice, except as disclosed in answer to the Disclosure questions; and
  • I am in compliance with the BC Health Professions Act and Regulations, and the CRPNBC Bylaws, Code of Ethics and professional and practice standards.

And I acknowledge that:

  • my registration is subject to the accuracy of my information, which may be audited; and
  • it is an offence under the Health Professions Act to knowingly submit false information.


In order to renew your Practicing registration, you must also have 1400 practice hours in the last 5 years. (However, new graduates have 5 years from graduation to accumulate these hours.) If you do not have enough practice hours, you must take a refresher program before you can be reinstated to the Practicing register.


Non-practicing registration is available to those who meet the conditions of Practicing registration but who are not working as an RPN in British Columbia (e.g., retired, on parental leave, on medical leave, or working in another jurisdiction). You can use the RPN title in B.C. so long as it is qualified with the words “non-Practicing.” You can also receive CRPNBC communications, vote in Board elections and participate as a registrant in CRPNBC affairs.

Those who opt for Non-Practicing registration are by definition not working as an RPN. Therefore, if you choose to be Non-Practicing, you cannot accumulate hours toward the Continuing Competence Program requirement of 1400 practice hours in the last 5 years (or 5 years from graduation for new graduates). This applies even if you are dually trained and registered as a practicing Registered Nurse. That is, even if you continue to work as an RN, you may have to take a refresher program to be reinstated to the Practicing register.

In order to become a Non-Practicing registrant, you must meet all of the requirements of Practicing registration, except fitness to practice, plus provide an undertaking:

  1. not to provide the services of the profession of psychiatric nursing in British Columbia; and
  2. to use the term “non-practicing” in conjunction with any use of the title “registered psychiatric nurse”, a variation of that title, or the abbreviation “RPN”. [Bylaw 42(1)(d)]


Interim registration is time-limited registration subject to terms and conditions approved by the Registration Committee. One common situation where interim registration is available is for those who are waiting to write and obtain the results of the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Examination but otherwise meet all the requirements of Practicing registration. Interim registration in that case is subject to the following conditions:

  1. May only work shifts during which there is an RPN or RN present in the same unit or service.
  2. May not be in charge of a unit or service.

Follow this link for further information on Interim registration.


Employed Student registration is mandatory for students working as an Employed Student Psychiatric Nurse and is subject to the restriction that the student can only work under supervision at a specifically named workplace. To obtain this registration, an applicant must:

  1. Be currently enrolled in a psychiatric nursing education program recognized by CRPNBC;
  2. Have an employment offer to work as an employed student psychiatric nurse with a BC health authority;
  3. Provide evidence of good character – through a Disclosure statement, Declaration and a criminal record check, which may indicate further information is required;
  4. Provide evidence of fitness to practice – through a Disclosure statement and Declaration, which may indicate that further information is required;
  5. Provide evidence of English language proficiency – this is assumed unless there is other information to the contrary;
  6. Provide the above required documents and 2 pieces of original or notarized government ID; and
  7. Pay the required fees.

Follow this link for more information on Employed Student Registration.


Lapsed status applies to two situations:

(1) when an Interim registrant is eligible to apply for a renewal of their Interim registration but has not done so; and

(2) when a Practicing registrant continues to be employed as an RPN (or be in independent RPN practice) but fails to renew their registration by midnight on the last day of February. The following information applies to this second situation:

At 12:01 a.m. you will automatically become Lapsed. The Lapsed status will continue until Practicing registration has been reinstated or until May 29 (90 days later), after which you will be automatically converted to Inactive/Ceased status.

If you are Lapsed, you cannot work as an RPN even though you are employed – you must take a leave until your Practicing registration is reinstated. If you apply for reinstatement within the 90 days, the reinstatement will be approved as long as you:

  1. Meet all the requirements for Practicing registration (see above); and
  2. Pay an additional fee equal to 20 per cent of the annual registration fee. [Bylaw 51(1)]

A Practicing registrant who fails to renew by the last day of February but continues to be employed (or be in independent practice) and applies for reinstatement more than 90 days later must be referred to the Registration Committee. The Committee may permit you to be reinstated to the Practicing register if you:

  1. Meet all the requirements for Practicing registration (see above); and
  2. Pay an additional fee equal to 35 per cent of the annual registration fee. [Bylaw 51(2)]


Inactive category applies to former registrants who are no longer registered. These can include those who are retired or deceased.


Suspended status applies to a registrant whose registration has been suspended through some form of regulatory action for a limited time or pending some event. A suspended registrant may not work as an RPN.


Revoked status applies to those whose registrations have been cancelled through some form of regulatory action and who require approval by the Registration Committee to be reinstated as a registrant.


Reinstatement to the Practicing register – If you are a Non-practicing registrant or a former registrant, you may be reinstated to the Practicing register (unless your registration was suspended or revoked) if you:

  1. Provide proof of having met the competency requirements (1400 hours of practice in the last 5 years);
  2. Pay the required fees and any other payments owed to the CRPNBC;
  3. Attest that you are in compliance with the Health Professions Act, regulations, CRPNBC bylaws and any regulatory conditions imposed;
  4. Provide evidence of good character and fitness to practice; and
  5. Authorize and pass a criminal record check if this has not been done in the last 5 years. [Bylaw 52]

If you have not practiced 1400 hours in the last 5 years, you must first complete a recognized psychiatric nursing refresher program before you will be granted Practicing registration [Bylaw 52(2)(a)]. You must pay the initial registration administration fee in addition to the annual practice fee.

If you have practiced 1400 hours in the last 5 years but have not held Practicing status in the last 2 years, you must pay a reinstatement fee equal to 20% of the annual practice fee [Bylaw 52(1)(d)] in addition to the annual practice fee.

If you have practiced 1400 hours in the last 5 years and have been out of practice less than 2 years, you do not have to pay the additional 20% fee.


Fitness to Practice and Good Character

Fitness to Practice – The Health Professions Act authorizes the CRPNBC to establish requirements for registration. Among the requirements in CRPNBC’s bylaws is “fitness to practice” and “good character.” This is in addition to the general requirement that an RPN be competent – that they have the necessary knowledge, skills and ability.

In fact, good character is a component of fitness to practice. The other component is capacity. While a Practicing registrant (or any class of registrant engaging in practice) must have both good character and the capacity to practice, a Non-practicing registrant need only be of good character.

The consequence of a person lacking good character or capacity is that registration may be denied, or subject to terms, limits or conditions, such as to only practice in a certain setting. As well, if the person is a registrant, good character issues could lead to disciplinary action.

Good Character – With the weighty responsibilities placed on professionals, self-regulation requires that all members of the profession have a certain level of integrity, or good character.

“Good character” has been defined by a number of court cases as a combination of personal qualities that suggest moral or ethical strength, including integrity, candour, empathy and honesty. It comprises an appreciation of the difference between right and wrong, and the moral fibre to do what is right, no matter how uncomfortable it is, and not to do wrong, no matter what the results may be to oneself.

The good character required of RPNs is not a standard of perfection but what might be reasonably considered by the public to be relevant to the practice of psychiatric nursing. For example, failing to put money in the parking meter is unlikely to be seen as relevant, but shop lifting would be even though it is not directly related to nursing since it raises concerns about general honesty.

Good character is normally presumed unless CRPNBC becomes aware of information that raises questions. At that point, the applicant or registrant to must provide evidence of good character.

Although good character is presumed, there is a statutory requirement for applicants and registrants to undergo a criminal record check. The results of that criminal record check could raise concerns that lead the CRPNBC to seek further information. Or the CRPNBC could receive information from a complaint that causes good character to be put in issue, such as an allegation that an applicant published plagiarized work.

Character can change over time and people can reform, so what is relevant is the character of the applicant at the time of the application for registration or a change of status. Therefore, an old shop lifting charge may not impede registration. Each application will be assessed based on the individual circumstances, taking into account factors such as the passage of time or subsequent conduct.

Capacity – To be fit to practice, an applicant must not only be of good character but have the capacity to practice. The terms fitness and capacity are often used interchangeably.

A person lacks capacity and is not fit to practice if they are suffering from a physical or mental condition or disorder, including addictions, which impairs their competence or ability to practice psychiatric nursing. In this sense, incapacity is different from incompetence due to negligence or other non-health related causes. An RPN may be competent in having the skills and knowledge to do something, but lack capacity, for example when they are in pain or intoxicated.

Because incapacity is related to health issues, it is not treated as a disciplinary matter (unlike incompetence, which can have disciplinary consequences). However, the CRPNBC has a duty to protect the public, so the CRPNBC may impose terms, limits or conditions on the person’s practice, to protect the public interest. The CRPNBC may also require the person to stop practicing.

Capacity is normally presumed unless the CRPNBC becomes aware of information that raises questions. The CRPNBC may then seek additional information, including a medical report. The report may provide medical clearance for the registrant to return to work, with or without conditions, or it may indicate there are issues that first need to be resolved.

The following documents provide some guidance as to the expectations regarding what constitutes capacity for a psychiatric nurse:

This does not mean that an RPN must always be able to do everything outlined in the above documents. Each case will be assessed on its individual merits, and any action taken by the CRPNBC to limit an RPN’s practice must be justifiable as reasonably necessary to protect the public. The goal is to achieve a reasonable level of public safety while supporting the individual to practice if possible. For example, a person suffering from an addiction may be allowed to practice subject to a monitoring and reporting regime.

As a person’s health changes, capacity can change, so this will be considered in any decision.


Comments are closed.