Registered Pyschiatric Nurses working in Eastern Canada and The U.S

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    i've been considering getting my degree in psychiatric nursing, however a few things give me pause. from what i can gather rpn's are pretty much a western canada thing, is this correct? also, i have family in the u.s and i would like the option of working down there for a while my kids are still small before we settle here in vancouver. my wife is an rn so she would be eligible for the tn visa. i also really would like to live in toronto for a while if the u.s thing didn't work out. in any event we do plan on settling here but would like to take advantage of the fact that with nursing travelling to other places seems easier than with other professions. i do not want to get a degree in something that pretty much limits me to working only in b.c. my other option is applying to ubc for the accelerated bsn program. i would prefer that as it's shorter, however, it's less of a "sure thing" then the psych nursing. i have a b.a in psych and have worked at the supervised injection site so i do think i have a very good chance of getting into the ubc program..but i can't be sure. so is there an equivalent to the psych nursing degree in the rest of canada/the u.s?

    thanks!
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

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    In Ontario there is no designation Registered Psychiatric Nurse. Nurses working in psych/mental health nursing are either Registered Nurses or Registered Practical Nurses with many advanced courses in this field available as continuing ed. I'm assuming this is the case for all central and eastern provinces. I have no idea about the U.S.
    VanLpn likes this.
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    You may have issues as US nurses are general trained, I do not believe they will accept your psychiatric only training
    VanLpn likes this.
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    There is no equivalent to the Registered Psychiatric Nurse in the US. All US nurses are educated and licensed as generalists -- in order to be eligible for licensure you have to have education (both lecture and clinical) in general med-surg, pediatrics, OB, and psych (at a minimum). Plenty of us in the US choose to specialize in psych nursing, but we have the same basic nursing education and licensure as every other RN in the country.
    VanLpn likes this.
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    Ah, but here is the generalized misunderstanding about western RPNs. Their education includes time on the wards in acute care. They do time on medicine, surgery, and in postpartum. The core of their course is mental health.

    I have worked with RPNs on the floor of LTC and have seen RPNs hired in the float pool of my hospital.

    Right now, it is the only diploma programme left in Alberta and it is full. Face it, they get out in 2.5 years and make RN wages.
    VanLpn likes this.
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    Quote from Fiona59
    Ah, but here is the generalized misunderstanding about western RPNs. Their education includes time on the wards in acute care. They do time on medicine, surgery, and in postpartum. The core of their course is mental health.

    I have worked with RPNs on the floor of LTC and have seen RPNs hired in the float pool of my hospital.

    Right now, it is the only diploma programme left in Alberta and it is full. Face it, they get out in 2.5 years and make RN wages.
    That's part of the reason that I'm attracted to the psych nursing degree, that and my degree in psych. It sounds like most of N.America doesn't know that psych nurses are trained on medical wards though so perhaps this isn't the avenue that I should take if I want to be able to travel as a nurse.
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    A lot will depend on what your transcripts show. If they show both clinical hours and theory hours in Paeds, Obstetrics, General Adult as well as Mental health you may be OK
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    so is there an equivalent to the psych nursing degree in the rest of canada/the u.s?
    no there isn't!

    since you already have a degree the best alternative for you in my view is to purse an registered nurse license .
    this would be transferable to any province in canada and you could easily be eligible to write the nclex -rn for the us.
    you would have the equivalent of 2 degrees, one in psych and the other in nursing.

    there are some education programs in canada that accept degree graduates for an accelerated nursing program. i am not familiar with the one at ubc but if that is what it does then you should go for that.
    there will be one at kwantlen polytechnic university soon but it isn't running yet and i am not sure if they will meet their target start date on jan 2011 but you could investigate that through their website.
    rpn's are pretty much a western canada thing, is this correct?
    yes only in bc, alberta, sask and manitoba.

    really - you have so many more options with a registered nurse license. the scope of practice is much broader and you could even go on to take a nurse practitioner license and/or specialize as a clinical nurse specialist in psych.
    VanLpn likes this.
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    Quote from RN_Canada
    No there isn't!

    Since you already have a degree the best alternative for you in my view is to purse an Registered nurse license .
    This would be transferable to any province in Canada and you could easily be eligible to write the NCLEX -RN for the US.
    You would have the equivalent of 2 degrees, one in psych and the other in nursing.

    there are some education programs in Canada that accept degree graduates for an accelerated nursing program. I am not familiar with the one at UBC but if that is what it does then you should go for that.
    There will be one at Kwantlen Polytechnic University soon but it isn't running yet and I am not sure if they will meet their target start date on Jan 2011 but you could investigate that through their website.
    YES only in BC, Alberta, Sask and Manitoba.

    Really - you have so many more options with a Registered Nurse license. The scope of practice is much broader and you could even go on to take a nurse practitioner license and/or specialize as a clinical nurse specialist in psych.
    Thank you. The BSN does seem like it is the best option for me. That's wear I'm leaning right now. I think I have a very good chance of getting into UBC's accelerated program. I know several people who did UBC's BSN(wife, friends) and I have good, grades, and relevant rare expierence (supervised injection site). I think I'll just put my eggs in that basket for now and if I don't get in, I'll reconsider pych nursing at douglas.
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    Quote from Fiona59
    Ah, but here is the generalized misunderstanding about western RPNs. Their education includes time on the wards in acute care. They do time on medicine, surgery, and in postpartum. The core of their course is mental health.

    I have worked with RPNs on the floor of LTC and have seen RPNs hired in the float pool of my hospital.

    Right now, it is the only diploma programme left in Alberta and it is full. Face it, they get out in 2.5 years and make RN wages.
    I didn't mean to imply that a Canadian RPN couldn't get licensed in the US (I will be the first to admit that I don't have enough info to make a statement like that). I was responding to the OP's question of whether there's "an equivalent to the psych nursing degree" (or the Registered Psychiatric Nurse designation/licensure) in the US -- there isn't, in the sense that there are no nursing degrees in the US leading to licensure that specialize in any particular clinical area. If that degree (which I don't know enough about to comment on specifically) does include sufficient classroom and clinical education in med-surg, peds, and OB to be comparable to US generalist nursing education, then that person would be eligible for licensure (assuming all other requirements/qualifications were met), regardless of what the degree is called.


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