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Appropriate Use of Titles

Practice Standards set out requirements related to specific aspects of nurses'1 practice. They link with other standards, policies and bylaws of the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia and all legislation relevant to nursing practice.

A key purpose of regulation of health professionals is to protect the public. One aspect of regulation is protecting professional titles to ensure they are used appropriately. Only those individuals who have met the requirements for registration and, once registered, continue to meet the requirements for renewal, may use a protected title. Individuals who do not meet the requirements are not permitted to use a protected title. This legal restriction assures the public that anyone using one of the protected nursing titles is entitled to practise nursing in British Columbia.

CRNBC Bylaws identify each class of registrant within the College and the titles each may use. The chart below summarizes the titles each class of registrant may use. This Practice Standard provides direction to CRNBC registrants on using their title(s) appropriately.

1.

Individuals within each class of registrant only use the title(s) assigned to them.

2.

Registrants use their title(s) in ways that comply with the:

 

2.1

CRNBC Bylaws, including the bylaws governing marketing or advertising activities;

 
 

2.2

Nurses (Registered) and Nurse Practitioners Regulation; and

 
 

2.3

CRNBC Standards of Practice.

 

3.

When registrants document care or services provided to a client, they specify their:

 

3.1

name;

 
 

3.2

title that most specifically reflects their class of registrant;

 
 

3.3

certification if they are on CRNBC's certified practice register [e.g., Registered Nurse (Certified), RN(C)]; and

 
 

3.4

Stream of practice if they are nurse practitioners [e.g., NP (Adult) or NP(A); NP (Family) or NP(F); NP (Pediatric) or NP(P)].

 

4.

Students who are enrolled in a CRNBC-recognized education program and who are employed as a nursing student in a health care setting use the title "employed student nurse" or "employed student of nursing" when documenting or providing care or services to a client.

5.

Students who are enrolled in a CRNBC-recognized education program, regardless of their registration status, use the title "student nurse" or "nursing student" when documenting or providing care or services to a client.

6.

Family nurse practitioners who are on the CRNBC-certified practice register and working in a certified practice role use "RN(C)."

7.

Registrants working in a CRNBC-certified practice role use "RN(C)" only when they are working in that role.

8.

Non-practising registrants cannot provide any nursing services, even on a voluntary basis.

Applying the principles to practice ​

Recognize that just because you are using a nursing title, it does not mean you are practising nursing. You may use your nursing title to describe who you are, but you are only practising nursing if you are practising according to the definition of nursing set out in the Nurses (Registered) and Nurse Practitioners Regulation.

Recognize that nurses' scope of practice is reflected in how you document client care and services. Be sure to use the title that most accurately reflects your practice [e.g., "NP(A)" not "NP")]. Also use the most accurate and descriptive title for your class of registrant (e.g., "RN" not "nurse").

If you are CRNBC-certified, you have additional authorities. Use "RN(C)" to denote your authorities when you document care or services provided to a client. If you have any other type of certification (e.g., CNA, BCIT) you can use this term except when documenting care or services provided to a client.

If you are a nurse practitioner, recognize that the clients you care for vary according to whether you are a family, adult or pediatric nurse practitioner. To promote clarity and transparency, use "NP(F)," "NP(A)" or "NP(P)" respectively when documenting care or services to clients and when you write prescriptions, order tests or make referrals.

Review CRNBC's Bylaws on marketing (Section 8.04) to understand how registrants can market products and services in an ethical and appropriate way. Understand that you cannot use your title in a job in which you predominantly sell products.

Ensure you only use "ESN" when working in your student employment role. Use "SN" in your student role.

If you are working in a role that you are not certain is within the scope of nursing (e.g., providing acupuncture, aromatherapy or reflexology), consult with CRNBC Practice Support about using your title.

If you are a non-practising or retired registrant, be aware that you cannot practise as a nurse and you do not have liability insurance through CRNBC.

If you are moving between different roles, particularly in the same setting, be clear about what role you are in and what title you are using. For example, you might work as a "NP(F)" one day and an "RN(C)" another day, or you might be an "ESN" and a "SN" on different days on the same unit. Wear identification and document as appropriate to your role.

Be aware that if you are a nurse practitioner working as a registered nurse, you are still a nurse practitioner registrant under the Bylaws and have a duty to provide care in an emergency to the standard of a nurse practitioner.

Be aware that your title (e.g., "RN") is granted annually by CRNBC and comes with restrictions about how you can use it. In contrast, you earned your academic credential (e.g., BSN) and there are no restrictions on its use.

If you are registered as a nurse in another province or country, but not in B.C., you can only use your title in the context of where you are actually registered (e.g., I am a registered nurse in Ontario). Do not imply you are registered in B.C. or able to practise in B.C.

For more information

Standards of Practice

CRNBC's Standards of Practice (Professional Standards, Practice Standards, and Scope of Practice Standards) set out requirements for practice that registrants must meet. They are available from the Nursing Standards section of the CRNBC website.

For more information on this or any other practice issue, contact CRNBC's Practice Support Services by email at practice@crnbc.ca or call 604.736.7331 (ext. 332) or toll-free 1.800.565.6505.

Each class of CRNBC registrant has specific restrictions on practice. Restrictions are set out in CRNBC Bylaws, standards and policies.

CRNBC CLASS OF REGISTRANT
TITLES REGISTRANT MAY USE

NOTES
CRNBC recommended titles/terms are bolded

Registered Nurse

  • Registered Nurse
  • RN
  • Nurse
  • RN
    Under the Health Professions Act, licensed practical nurses and registered psychiatric nurses can also use the generic title "nurse."
  • RNs who are on the CRNBC certified practice register use the following authorized terms appropriate to their certified practice category:
 
  • Registered Nurse — Remote Practice Certified or Registered Nurse (Certified) or RN(C)
  • Registered Nurse — Reproductive Health (STI and/or CM) Certified or Registered Nurse (Certified) or RN(C). These RNs may have Sexually Transmitted Infection and/or Contraceptive Management certification.
  • Registered Nurse — First Call Certified or Registered Nurse (Certified) or RN(C)

Temporary Registered Nurse

  • Temporary Registered Nurse
  • Temporary Nurse
  • RN(T)
  • RN(T)
  • If an applicant is eligible for registration, CRNBC may grant temporary registration up to 90 days in an emergency or for the purposes of providing care or services at a time-limited conference or education program.

Provisional Registered Nurse

  • Registered Nurse (Provisional)
  • Provisional Nurse
  • RN(P)
  • RN (Provisional)
  • An applicant may be eligible for provisional registration subject to specified limits and conditions (e.g., completing the registered nurse registration examination, providing a satisfactory reference, completing specified course work).

Nurse Practitioner

  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Registered Nurse
  • Registered Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse
  • NP
  • RN
  • RN-NP
  • NP(A) (for NPs in the Adult stream)
  • NP(F) (for NPs in the Family stream)
  • NP(P) (for NPs in the Pediatric stream)

Temporary Nurse Practitioner

  • Temporary Nurse Practitioner
  • Temporary Nurse
  • NP (T)
  • NP (T)
  • If an applicant is eligible for registration, CRNBC may grant temporary registration up to 90 days in an emergency or for the purposes of providing care or services at a time-limited conference or education program.

Provisional Nurse Practitioner

  • Nurse Practitioner (Provisional)
  • Provisional Nurse Practitioner
  • NP(P)
  • NP(A)(Provisional) (for NPs in the Adult stream)
  • NP(F)(Provisional) (for NPs in the Family stream)
  • NP(P)(Provisional) (for NPs in the Pediatric stream)
  • An applicant may be eligible for provisional registration subject to specified limits and conditions (e.g., completing nurse practitioner registration examinations; must be monitored by a physician or nurse practitioner; not authorized to carry out independent prescribing or ordering of diagnostic tests).

Grandparented Nurse Practitioner

  • Grandparented Nurse Practitioner
  • Registered Nurse
  • Nurse
  • GNP(A)
    (for GNPs in the Adult stream)
  • GNP(F)
    (for GNPs in the Family stream)
  • GNP(P)
    (for GNPs in the Pediatric stream)
  • A grandparented nurse practitioner registrant may use the title “grandparented nurse practitioner”, “registered nurse”, or “nurse”, or the abbreviations “GNP”, “RN”, or “RN-GNP”.

Licensed Graduate Nurse

  • Licensed Graduate Nurse
  • Nurse
  • LGN
  • LGN

Provisional Licensed Graduate Nurse

  • Licensed Graduate Nurse (Provisional)
  • LGN(P)
  • LGN(P)

Non-Practising

  • Non-practising Registered Nurse
  • Retired Registered Nurse
  • Non-practising Licensed Graduate Nurse
  • Retired Licensed Graduate Nurse
  • Non-practising Nurse Practitioner
  • Retired Nurse Practitioner
  • Registrants only use these titles if they previously qualified as an RN, LGN or NP.

Grandparented Student

  • Student Nurse
  • Nursing Student
  • SN

Employed Student

  • Employed Student Nurse 
  • Employed Student of Nursing
  • ESN

Footnotes​

1 "Nurse" refers to the following CRNBC registrants: registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed graduate nurses, employed student nurses and grandparented student nurses.

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 Resources

 Need help?

For further information on the Standards of Practice or professional practice matters, contact us:

  • Telephone 604.736.7331 ext. 332
  • Toll-free in Canada 1.800.565.6505
  • Email practice@crnbc.ca

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