College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses (CRPNA)

What is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN)?

Psychiatric Nursing, as a distinct profession,  have the professional competencies required to promote optimal wellness, and provide holistic, client-centred nursing care for those experiencing both mental and physical health problems including those individuals whose primary care needs relate to mental and developmental health. Psychiatric nursing includes a focus on the influence of psychosocial forces on health while committed to the promotion, restoration, and maintenance of optimal health.
Registered Psychiatric Nurses are prepared in a holistic health care approach that incorporates both the mind and body, that is to say that health is far more than the absence of disease, in that there can be no health without mental health.

One of the cornerstones of psychiatric nursing is a caring, therapeutic relationship. Caring includes empathy, acknowledgement of the uniqueness of the individual, a non-judgmental attitude, respect for the rights, beliefs, and values of others; and a willingness to share, learn and grow. The core skills and knowledge of psychiatric nursing are developed from the nursing, biological, psychological, and physical sciences.

RPNs also possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills as they need to continually exercise sound judgement in making decisions and solving problems in meeting clinical challenges and the health care needs of patients, clients, their families and the community.

Many RPNs are involved in crisis intervention on a daily basis no matter what the practice area may be, from a psychiatric unit to a medical unit.

What is the Regulatory Role of the CRPNA?

The primary role of the CRPNA is to protect the public. This responsibility is mandated to the College by the Alberta government in regards to Registered Psychiatric Nurses. As a self governing profession, we work within the parameters of the Health Professions Act and the Psychiatric Nurses Regulations to ensure the services provided by CRPNA members benefit the citizens of the province and are not a risk to their safety. The CRPNA carries out it's role by establishing Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics and by ensuring new members meet the minimum requirements for safe practice. The CRPNA is required to ensure existing members maintain their competence in practice and remain safe practitioners. This is currently monitored by requiring members to complete the Continuing Competence Program annually and to work a minimum of 1400 hours within the Scope of Practice of their profession within a five year period immediately prior to submitting an application for renewal of their registration. The Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics are enforced through a conduct process put in place by the CRPNA based on guidelines set out in the Health Professions Act. 

The governing body of a College is the Council. The Council manages and conducts the activities of the College, exercises the rights, powers and privileges and carries out the duties of the College in the name of and on behalf of the College and carries out the powers and duties of the Council under the Health Professions Act and the Bylaws.

The College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta (CRPNA) regulates psychiatric nursing as a distinct profession in Alberta under the Health Professions Act.

As a College, CRPNA provides direction to and regulates the practice of psychiatric nurses. The College establishes, maintains and enforces the requirements for licensure / registration, standards for registration, code of ethics, standards of practice and continued competence of the Profession in a manner that serves and protects public safety.

Member Information


Barbara Lowe – Executive Director (780) 434-7666