Registered Psychiatric Nurses, Partnering with People

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Initial Registration as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse FAQ

Below are a list of frequently asked question about initial registration.  If the answer to your question is not listed here, try searching the website or contact us.

What steps do I have to take to become initially “registered” and “licensed” to practice as a registered psychiatric nurse?

The Act and Bylaws of the RPNAS require that you produce satisfactory evidence of the following that:

  • You have successfully completed an approved psychiatric nursing education program
  • You have passed the registration examination within a four year period following graduation
  • You have provided a current criminal record check
  • You have complied with the registration bylaws which require that you complete the forms, pay the required fees and provide the required documentation.

What does the term “licensed” mean?

A person has been issued a license to practise psychiatric nursing, in accordance with the Registered Psychiatric Nurses Act, 1993. The title of “psychiatric nurse”, “registered psychiatric nurse”, and “graduate psychiatric nurse” and the abbreviations PN, RPN and GPN are protected titles.  Anyone using the in Saskatchewan who is not licensed with the RPNAS is subject to legal action.

How does the RPNAS “regulate” the practice of psychiatric nursing in Saskatchewan?

By:

  • registering members;
  • issuing licenses;
  • approving the psychiatric nursing education program;
  • setting standards of practice;
  • adopting a code of ethics;
  • investigating professional conduct complaints; and
  • disciplining its members.

Why do I have a license to practise psychiatric nursing?

To protect the public from harm by the promotion of safe psychiatric nursing practise within the Act and Bylaws of the RPNAS.

To protect the member through mandatory malpractice insurance and investigation of all professional conduct complaints.

As a graduate from the Nursing Education Program of Saskatchewan (NEPS), do I have to license initially in Saskatchewan?

Please note: The NEPS program is being phased out. 

No. However, you must be eligible for licensure with the RPNAS in order to license initially as a registered psychiatric nurse in Manitoba, Alberta or British Columbia. To be eligible in Saskatchewan,
you must have:

  1. successfully completed an approved psychiatric nursing education program and
  2. successfully completed the RPNAS registration examination.

What benefits accompany my licence to practise psychiatric nursing?

  • to enjoy the right to practise nursing;
  • to use the title “registered psychiatric nurse” or “psychiatric nurse”;
  • to ensure professional liability protection;
  • to participate and be eligible to hold office with the RPNAS;
  • to receive the RPNews; and
  • to be eligible for sponsored educational programs, bursaries and scholarships.

What responsibilities accompany my licence to practise psychiatric nursing?

To adhere to the Code of Ethics and to practise competently according to recognized standards.

To maintain Continuing Professional Development (CPD) according to RPNAS requirements.

Can I practise psychiatric nursing outside of Saskatchewan?

The four Western provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia) have legislation that regulates psychiatric nursing.  Your license in Saskatchewan does not extend beyond the provincial borders, however you if you maintain eligibility with RPNAS you may become licensed as an RPN in the other provinces.

How do I go about establishing registration/licensure in another jurisdiction?

You need to contact the licensing body in that jurisdiction and request the appropriate forms. They will ask you to complete a release of information form, allowing them to contact the RPNAS to validate your credentials (including an approved psychiatric nursing program and the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Examination).

When should I establish initial registration?

You have four years from your graduation date to successfully complete the registration examination and license with the RPNAS.  If you fail to do so, you will be required to take a re-entry program before you will be eligible to write the registration examination.

Upon successful completion of the registration examination, you are encouraged to seek employment as an RPN and establish initial registration and licensure with the RPNAS.

What if I work in a jurisdiction that does not license Registered Psychiatric Nurses and wish to license with the RPNAS upon return to Saskatchewan?

Upon return to Saskatchewan you may apply for licensure with the RPNAS if you:

  1. Were eligible to license with the RPNAS prior to leaving Saskatchewan,
  2. provide evidence of your employment record and activities in that jurisdiction during the time period as required by the association,
  3. provide proof of having worked in psychiatric nursing activities approved by the association for at least 1400 hours in the five year period immediately preceding the date of application for the year in which licensure is sought, and
  4. provide evidence of good standing in that jurisdiction, if you were registered as another health practitioner.
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