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Careers | Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing (BPN) Program

BPN Employment Opportunities

After graduating from the KPU BPN program, graduates will be qualified to work in a variety of healthcare settings, including:

  • Addiction facilities
  • Acute care
  • Intermediate and/or long term care hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Homecare agencies
  • Community healthcare centres
  • Forensic Psychiatry

BPN Employment Questions

Who is a psychiatric nurse?

The Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) is a professional who focuses on psychosocial, mental or emotional health. They care for people of all ages experiencing issues related to mental health, substance use or behavioural addictions. Psychiatric nurses have been an important part of British Columbia's mental health system since the early 1930s. There are more than 2500 RPNs in British Columbia, forming a majority of the nursing workforce in mental health and addictions. The practice of Registered Psychiatric Nursing involves partnerships with clients and other health professionals in multidisciplinary treatment team environments. The RPN works within the scope of practice outlined in the standards and competencies of the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP), and legislation enacted under the Health Professions Act. Currently RPNs are employed at various levels of healthcare service delivery as direct caregivers, nurse clinicians, counsellors, case managers in tertiary health care facilities and community, directors of care facilities including hospitals, post-secondary educators at colleges, universities or as private entrepreneurs.

How do I become a psychiatric nurse?

To achieve this goal, you need to receive formal psychiatric nursing education from a recognized educational institution. You can become a psychiatric nurse by joining the Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing program at KPU. The KPU's BPN program is a 3.75 year Bachelor degree program that provides you with necessary knowledge and skills required to work as an RPN. All graduates from the BPN program are eligible to take the RPNC licensing examination.

Is psychiatric nursing a regulated profession?

In order to practice in British Columbia as a RPN, you must obtain registration through the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP) which is the regulatory body for the profession in the province. When you are registered, you are also recognized in all western provinces of Canada, a few states in the United States, and most of the British Commonwealth countries including Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand. You may have to write registration examination if you choose to work outside the four Western provinces.

Would a RPN have the same recognition as a RN?

Yes, RPNs and RNs have the same professional recognition in BC, Alberta and other western provinces in Canada. Often, RPNs and RNs work together for the same pay and for the same employer bearing same or similar responsibilities. In the province of British Columbia there are two separate labour unions for RPNs and RNs namely the British Columbia Nurses Union (BCNU) and Health Science Association (HSA).

What is the approximate salary for a psychiatric nurse?

In the province of British Columbia a RPN usually starts at $30 - $40/hour. There may be additional bonuses in northern geographic locations. In addition, the benefit packages for nurses are quite attractive. The contract for RPNs (HSA) is at par with the BCNU contract. Salary also varies depending on the grid level of the contract.

Is there a psychiatric nursing shortage?

In the province of British Columbia alone there is and will be an acute shortage of nurses in the years to come. According to CIHI reports there are not enough graduates each year to replace those who retire and this trend will continue for some time.

How do I find out more about psychiatric nursing? Libraries and on-line resources are the best vehicle for journal articles and books about the specialty of psychiatric nursing. For information, visit and

KPU Employment Opportunities

Student Employment

KPU students are eligible for employment both on and off campus. Visit Career Services for job posting and instructions for using Career Connections

Faculty/Staff Employment

Looking for employment as a faculty or staff member at KPU? Visit KPU - Human Resources.