Registered Nurse or Registered Psychiatric Nurse

  1. Hello,

    I have a BA in Psychology and want to be a nurse and work with individuals with mental health issues. I'm trying to figure out the best path to take IN CANADA- specifically in BC.

    Should I be getting BScN to become a Registered Nurse (RN) and then specialize in Psychiatry/Mental Health (3 or 4 years)


    Should I get my Reginal Diploma in Psychiatric Nursing and work as a RPN (registered psych nurse (3 years)


    Get my BSPN (bachelors of science in psychiatric nursing)- 4 years

    Does one have a better salary than the other? Is one better than the other for future advancement?
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    Joined: Mar '13; Posts: 1


  3. by   RN_Canada
    if you already have a degree in psychology my advice would be to become a registered nurse and specialize in mental health as you will have more career opportunities. Psychiatric nursing is not recognized in all provinces in Canada.

    if you are interested in education in BC check out the new BSN2 program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. It is an online degree program for students to transition to the field of nursing if you have another degree.

    It might be just what you are looking for.
  4. by   Fiona59
    How long do you feel you want to spend in school? Can you afford to do another four year degree?

    Unless you are planning on working in Ontario or the Maritimes, I'd do the diploma. You can always upgrade to degree status later. You might find out that you don't actually like nursing. The diploma students do the normal rotations through the hospital system and I've worked with RPNs in women's health and LTC. Trust me patients all over the hospital have mental health issues.

    RPNs have the same wage regardless of diploma or degree status. A while back degree holders made abouat a $/hr more but it disapeared in the contract negotiations. You'd be best checking the posting boards for your health authority.