About RPN's

Since the 1920s, Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) have been an indispensable part of Alberta’s psychiatric and mental health services delivery system. In the last 80 years, RPNs have built a record of providing high standards of skilled and compassionate care for persons with a medical, mental illness or emotional problems.

There are over 5,500 Registered Psychiatric Nurses in Canada, with approximately 1,400 RPNs practicing in Alberta. Psychiatric Nursing is recognized as a distinct health care profession in Canada and many other countries – a profession that is growing and adapting to meet the changing needs of individuals, families, groups and communities as well as the health care system.

Registered Psychiatric Nurses form the largest single group of mental health professionals in Alberta.

What is an RPN

A nurse who takes into account the mind, body, spirit of all persons, groups, communities and populations with whom they are working.


What do they do

Psychiatric nurses work with clients whose primary care needs relate to mental and developmental health.  Psychiatric nurses recognize the complex relationship between emotional, developmental, physical and mental health, as well as the role that social factors, culture and spirituality play in illness and recovery. 

RPNs work in clinical environments and in team settings. They need to continually exercise sound judgement in making decisions and solving problems to meet clinical challenges and the health care needs of patients/ clients. With their specific education and experience, RPNs provide crisis and treatment intervention on a daily basis. They must possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

RPNs work in settings that provide challenging and rewarding experiences. What RPNs do day to day, depends on where they work.

RPN Regulators

In Canada Psychiatric Nursing is regulated in the four western Provinces of British Columbia , Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and in the Yukon .

To provide psychiatric nursing services you must be a regulated member within your respective jurisdiction.  

Context of Psychiatric Nursing Practice​

RPNs begin their practice in a variety of practice settings, with diverse populations.  They are responsible for practicing within the context of their legislated scope of practice, the, regulatory standards, employer policies and their individual competence.

Psychiatric Nursing Education Programs

For those thinking of entering a psychiatric nursing program read more about where you can obtain your education.

Psychiatric Nursing


Psychiatric nurses work with clients whose primary care needs relate to mental and developmental health.  Psychiatric nurses recognize the complex relationship between emotional, developmental, physical and mental health, as well as the role that social factors, culture and spirituality play in illness and recovery. 

The College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta (CRPNA) is the professional regulatory body for registered psychiatric nurses in Alberta; it currently regulates over 1,400 registered psychiatric nurses in Alberta. 

Psychiatric Nursing is recognized as a distinct health care profession in Canada and many other countries – a profession that is growing and adapting to meet the changing needs of individuals, families, groups and communities as well as the health care system.  

A psychiatric nurse career takes into account the mind, body, spirit of all persons, groups, communities and populations with whom they are working.