Psychiatric Nursing Refresher Certificate Program

Recognized by the regulatory bodies for Psychiatric Nurses in British Columbia (BCCMN), Alberta (CRPNA), Saskatchewan (RPNAS) and Manitoba (CRPNM)

The Psychiatric Nursing Refresher Certificate Program is a self-paced, on-line, instructor-supported program for former Canadian trained Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) who have been non-practicing for up to five years and wish to update their knowledge and skills to reach competencies required of a beginning graduate in preparation for registration. Requisite skills and abilities to become a RPN can be found online at on the BCCNM website.

Please note that Preceptorship arrangements are not available to students living outside of Canada.  Placements requested outside the Lower Mainland of Vancouver, including out-of-province requests, need to be requested well in advance, as they may take longer to arrange.

The full certificate Program includes five theory courses, an on-line clinical skills component, and a full-time clinical preceptorship experience in an acute care psychiatric setting.  In order to enter into the clinical experience, all theory courses must first be completed successfully.

Individuals wishing to refresh their theoretical foundations may also register in any or all of the individual theory courses for professional development.  However, only students who have been admitted to the full program are eligible to register in the Preceptorship course, and only students who complete all program requirements are eligible to receive the certificate.  Please note that Preceptorship arrangements are not available to students living outside of Canada.

Program Learning Outcomes

Program graduates will be equipped to:

  • demonstrate responsibility and accountability for their own psychiatric nursing practice;
  • apply communication theory and skills effectively to initiate, maintain and terminate therapeutic relationships;
  • promote a therapeutic environment;
  • demonstrate self-awareness in relationships with individuals and their significant others to facilitate therapeutic relationships;
  • in collaboration with the client, use problem-solving and specialized knowledge and skills to accurately assess, plan, implement, evaluate and adapt a plan of care in collaboration with the client in a mental health setting;
  • apply principles of teaching and learning to assist individuals to meet health-related needs;
  • demonstrate beginning leadership skills within the health team;
  • utilize agency and community resources to promote health;
  • demonstrate clear, accurate oral and written communication regarding a client's health status and response to therapeutic interventions; and
  • critique the quality of their own practice with ethical and legal parameters.


Admission Requirements

You must submit to Continuing Education, Faculty of Health Sciences:

  • a program application form;
  • a copy of your current resume, highlighting your education and experience as an RPN;
  • proof of completion of a recognized RPN education program;
  • a letter of intent that describes your personal goals and vision for your future practice, and explains how completion of this program will align with your goals (maximum of one page);
  • two letters of reference (one must be a work-related reference; the other may be a personal reference); and
  • proof of completion of English 12 with a minimum grade of “C” or equivalent LPI test results (score of 4 on all sections).


Each course has its own tuition fee. Tuition is noted on the individual course pages linked above. 

Program Duration

You have up to 31 months to complete the program. However, this is a maximum timeline, based on the maximum timelines available to complete each of the courses in the program. As courses are self-paced and begin once per month, dedicated students may complete the entire program in less than the maximum time permitted.


Upon successful completion of the program, you will be granted a Ƶ Continuing Education Program Certificate: Psychiatric Nursing Refresher, which is issued by the Graduation Office in the Office of the Registrar.

For more information regarding application to the program, please contact the RPN Refresher Program Assistant by email or by phone at (604) 777-6405.