The Profession

Psychiatric nursing, as a distinct field, provides services to individuals whose primary care needs relate to emotional and developmental health. The core knowledge and skills of psychiatric nursing are
developed from the nursing, psycho-social, biological and physical sciences. The basis of psychiatric nursing is a caring, therapeutic relationship with others.

Caring includes empathy, acknowledgement of the uniqueness of the individual, a non-judgemental attitude, respect for the rights, beliefs and values of others; and a willingness to share, learn and grow. Psychiatric nursing focuses on the influence of psycho-social forces on health while committed to the promotion, restoration and maintenance of optimal health.

The Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN)

The registered psychiatric nurse is a graduate of a recognized and approved post-secondary education program who has met all the requirements for registration and licensure. Professional status is established by legislation and is administered by the Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Saskatchewan. The provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba have comparable requirements and professional bodies. There are over 6,000 registered psychiatric nurses in Western Canada

Registered Psychiatric Nurses:

1. uses highly developed professional skills to understand the client’s psycho-social and emotional needs and his/her own reaction to the client’s behaviour.

2. uses professional skills in communication with the mentally ill and the developmentally handicapped.

3. is actively involved in assessing the client’s psycho-social and physical needs and assists the client with basic life skills.

4. plans and implements programs to meet the needs of the client through group discussions, individual and family counselling; and through training and education of clients with developmental handicaps.

5. continues to develop knowledge and skills in the profession.

Using their basic educational preparation and experience, registered psychiatric nurses can be employed in a wide range of services and programs. A variety of agencies and community-based programs use the unique combination of nursing and psycho-social skills possessed by the registered psychiatric nurse.

RPNs work in the following areas of practise and employment:

-acute psychiatry

-long-term geriatric care and home care

-residential and community programs for the developmentally handicapped

-forensic psychiatry

-institutional and community based corrections

-community mental health programs

-K-12 special education programs

-employee assistance programs

-child guidance and family therapy clinics

-chemical dependency programs

-hospitals and special care homes

-children and geriatric day care

-women’s shelters and clinics

-residential and community adolescent programs

-consultation and private practice

-psychiatric nursing education

-sheltered workshops, rehab/vocational programs

-administration, personnel, staff development

-self-help groups