Learn more about British Columbia's new provincial initiative for Internationally Educated Nurses!

Registered Psychiatric Nurses

All registered psychiatric nurses (RPN) educated outside of Canada are considered to be internationally educated nurses (IENs). All international applicants (RPN) are required to make application to the national nursing assessment service (NNAS) and may be required to undergo a substantially equivalent competency assessment (SEC) and write the CPRNE.


National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS)

 All nurses who were educated outside Canada and are seeking initial registration/licensure to practice in BC as a registered psychiatric nurse (RPN) must first complete an application to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS). After the NNAS notifies you by email that your application and report are complete, you may then apply to BCCNM. When you apply to the regulatory body they will conduct a further review of your application based on your NNAS file.

Substantially Equivalent Competency Assessment (SEC)

Nursing education and practice has evolved differently in different parts of the world. As part of the application process, most internationally-educated applicants are required to complete a Substantially Equivalent Competency (SEC) assessment. The SEC assessment looks at your nursing knowledge and practice and shows how it compares to what is expected of nurses that completed their nursing program in B.C.
The assessment evaluates entry level competencies; it does not look at expert levels of nursing practice. Entry level competencies are the competences that new graduates from a B.C nursing program are required to have.

BCCNM Assessment

Once you have completed the SEC assessment a report will be sent to the BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM), formerly known as the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP) and the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC). This report summarizes the details of your assessment and identifying where differences in practice may exist in comparison to a BC grad.  Coursework will normally be recommended. Using this report and all of the documentation and information from your application, the BCCNM will do an assessment and determine your registration requirements.

All applicants who completed their psychiatric nursing education program in a location other than BC will be required to successfully complete the BCCNM online learning module Introduction to the Ethical, Professional and Legal Responsibilities of RPNs in BC prior to registering with BCCNM.


Provisional Registration

Provisional registration allows applicants to practise as nurses in British Columbia while they wait to write the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Examination (RPNCE) or in order to meet a practice requirement of the regulatory body.

Registration Tips

  • Download the IEN Applicant Handbook from the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS)
  • Apply to the NNAS
  • Collect the required documents, including documents confirming your identity and your education
  • Complete the online payment for the application process
  • Print the required secondary forms
  • Have your completed secondary forms and documents sent to the NNAS
  • Ensure all documents are complete and ready for sending.
  • Ask your references for permission to use their names, and ask them to provide the College with a timely response to all requests.

Keep a copy of all of your documents and completed forms.

Once you have obtain the assessment report from the NNAS apply to the BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM).

Record the date sent and the method of sending your paperwork to the College.