Psychiatric Nursing (Bachelor of Science)

Domestic Applications

Winter 2024:  Apply Now! 

Fall 2024: Applications open October 3, 2023


Effective Immediately, students intending to apply to the Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing will be required to submit evidence of two Covid-19 vaccination before a seat offer will be confirmed for entry into the Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing. This is a mandatory requirement, please contact the Psychiatric Nursing Department for more details.

Health Sciences
Nursing - Psychiatric
Length of Program
Four years
Credential Type
Bachelor's Degree
Learning Format
Admission Type
Limited Enrolment


Are you empathic, adaptable and looking for a career that makes a difference? Get started on your path to a rewarding career as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) with the Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing program at Douglas College.

As an RPN, you’ll work with a team of health care professionals to assess patient needs, develop treatment plans and address the complex relationship between a patient’s mental, emotional and physical health in the context of their social, cultural and religious situation. Psychiatric nurses are currently in demand, and as a Douglas grad your prospects will be particularly good: Douglas College has been the primary school for psychiatric nursing education in B.C. for over 30 years.

Check out the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives website for Requisite Skills and Abilities to Become a Registered Psychiatric Nurse in BC.

Ready to work

You’ll get hands-on practical experience through clinically-focused practicums throughout the program, plus a full-time 11-week preceptorship experience at the end. Practicums take place in a variety of health care settings to give you the best well-rounded training prior to graduation.

Upon completion of your degree, you will be eligible to apply to the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM). You will graduate fully prepared to write the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Examination (RPNCE) to be certified as an RPN.

Excellent job prospects

The B.C. Ministry of Health has identified RPNs as a high demand priority occupation. Surveys show that 99 percent of our Psychiatric Nursing degree graduates are working in the field after graduation. (Source: B.C. Student Outcomes).

RPNs are qualified for employment in many areas of health care, from psychiatric units in hospitals, to community mental health and addiction care settings. RPNs who become members of the B.C. Nurses’ Union can expect a minimum hourly wage of $36.23 (effective April 2021) with a 1.03% raise each year.

Designated Indigenous seats and support

The Psychiatric Nursing program offers a limited number of designated seats to Indigenous applicants who meet academic and admission requirements. ​Faculty in the Department of Psychiatric Nursing are committed to reconciliation while creating a culturally safe learning environment where inclusivity and equity are valued. The application deadlines for a designated Indigenous seat are February 1 for the Fall intake and June 1 for the Winter intake.

As an Indigenous student, you’ll also have access to resources through Indigenous Student Services, such as one-on-one support with an Indigenous Student Support Navigator, spiritual and cultural guidance from Elders, information about funding options for status and non-status Indigenous students and more. For more information on how to apply, contact our Indigenous Coordinator or Indigenous Student Support Navigator.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must meet the admissions requirements listed below:

I. Academic Admission Requirements

To be eligible for admission to the Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing (BSPN) program, students must complete the following required 30 university transfer (UT) credits, with a minimum grade of C+ (65%) in each 3 credit course:

NOTE: Students may apply to the BSPN program for the Fall or Winter semester following completion of the required 30 credits listed above. Students are accepted to the BSPN program on a first qualified, first admitted basis. In the event where students qualify for admission at the same time, but there are fewer program seats available than demand dictates, offers will be given to those students with a higher GPA on the required courses for admission to BSPN. Priority admission will be given to applicants who are in the Academic Foundations for Potential Psychiatric Nursing Applicants program. To receive priority admission, students should apply to Academic Foundations (for potential Psychiatric Nursing applicants).

II. Non-Academic Admission Requirements

After successful completion of the required Academic Foundation 30 credits, and with an offer of admission to the second year of the BSPN program, applicants will be required to satisfy the following criteria (appropriate forms will be provided):

  • Criminal Record Check (CRC) (within one year prior to the start of the program) - Students practice in environments that require individuals to provide proof of satisfactory, current CRC for the protection of clients.  To meet this requirement, prospective students must submit a current CRC as a condition of entry to the program.  All costs related to the completion of the CRC are the responsibility of the applicant.
  • Immunization - A current record of immunizations. All costs related to required immunizations and/or testing are the responsibility of the applicant. 
  • Deposit - A non-refundable deposit of $350.00 (applied to tuition) upon acceptance into the Degree program is required.


You can get an average cost for your program - tuition and student fees, books, uniforms, lab fees etc - on the Program Cost page. 

Only programs approved for student loan funding are listed on the Program Cost page. For all other programs, refer to the Tuition Fee page.

Program Requirements

Curriculum Framework

Graduation Requirements:

  • Successful completion of 120.50 credits, including the 30 university transferable credits that were used for program admission
  • Completion of the program within seven (7) years once admitted to the BSPN program
  • 45 Upper Level (3000-4000) credits required
  • A minimum of 40% (48.5 credits) of all coursework must be completed at Douglas College
  • A minimum program GPA of 2.33 is required 
  • In good academic standing
  • Minimum grades are required (see note below), as follows:
    • C+ in all PNUR and PHIL
    • Mastery in all clinical practice and preceptorship courses

Note: A student who has withdrawn from or failed a letter graded or mastery-graded course must exit the program. A student may request re-entry and take a course for a second time.

Course Requirements

Course Number

Course Title


PHIL 3125

Ethics for Psychiatric Nursing


PNUR 2101

Psychiatric Nursing Concepts I  


PNUR 2121

Therapeutic Relations I


PNUR 2130

Clinical Procedures I


PNUR 2170 

Trauma Informed Practices I


PNUR 2171

Family Health Promotion


PNUR 2175

Psychiatric Nursing Research


PNUR 2201

Psychiatric Nursing Concepts II


PNUR 2221

Therapeutic Relations II


PNUR 2230

Clinical Procedures II


PNUR 2261

Psychiatric Nursing Clinical Practice I


PNUR 2285

Psychiatric Nursing in Addictions and Mental Health 


PNUR 3301

Psychiatric Nursing Concepts III


PNUR 3321

Therapeutic Relations III


PNUR 3330

Clinical Procedures III


PNUR 3350

Psychiatric Nursing Pharmacology


PNUR 3361

Psychiatric Nursing Clinical Practice II  


PNUR 3401

Psychiatric Nursing Concepts IV


PNUR 3403

Psychiatric Nursing and the Older Adult


PNUR 3421

Therapeutic Relations IV


PNUR 3430

Clinical Procedures IV


PNUR 3441

Group Theory


PNUR 3462

Psychiatric Nursing Clinical Practice III  


PNUR 4501

Psychiatric Nursing Leadership and Management 


PNUR 4521

Therapeutic Relations V


PNUR 4562

Psychiatric Nursing Clinical Practice IV


PNUR 4572

Psychiatric Nursing Community Concepts


PNUR 4573

Psychiatric Nursing of Children and Adolescents


PNUR 4661

Psychiatric Nursing Clinical Practice V: Preceptorship


PNUR 4670

Trauma Informed Practices II


Program Guidelines

Program Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this program and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the program, consider the previous version as the applicable version.


Successful Psychiatric Nurses tend to have the following qualities:

  • sensitivity and empathy
  • self-awareness
  • tolerance, respect for differences
  • integrity
  • good listening and observational skills
  • collaborative and teamwork skills
  • aptitude in math and science
  • proficient written and verbal communication skills
  • physical, mental and emotional fitness
  • reasonable manual dexterity
  • time and stress management skills
  • basic computer proficiency
  • commitment to lifelong learning

As a psychiatric nursing student, you will build on these qualities to develop the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and competencies to become a professional Psychiatric Nurse.

The British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) provides more detail in their Requisite Skills and Abilities document about basic skills and abilities required of Psychiatric Nursing students to complete their education and attain entry-level competencies.

This limited enrollment program allows for priority registration into the courses required for admission to the Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing (BSPN) program. Students who are admitted to the Academic Foundations for Potential Psychiatric Nursing Applicants category are not guaranteed admission to the BSPN program.

To be eligible to apply to the BSPN program, students must achieve a minimum grade of C+ in all 10 University Transfer courses.

Students may apply to the Fall or Winter intake of the BSPN program following completion of the required 10 university transfer courses (30 credits) with a minimum grade of C+ in each course. Students are accepted into the BSPN program on a first qualified, first admitted basis. Students who have completed AF PNUR are given priority registration into the BSPN program.

A limited number of seats in the Academic Foundations in Psychiatric Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing programs are designated for applicants who self-identify as Indigenous, and meet the academic and non-academic admission requirements. The application deadline date for a designated Indigenous seat is February 1 for the Fall intake and June 1 for the Winter intake.

There are a limited number of designated seats in the AF PNUR program for School District #43 and for other high school applicants. High school applicants apply online by the application deadline date.

After completion of the 10 university transfer courses (30 credits) and upon acceptance into the BSPN program, students complete an additional 3 years of full-time studies in Psychiatric Nursing.

All classes take place in the modern Health Sciences Centre at the Coquitlam Campus. Clinical practice courses take place in a variety of health care settings around the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to any clinical area they are assigned to.

There are two intakes for the degree program: Fall (September) and Winter (January).

The AF PNUR courses may be taken part-time over a number of semesters or on a full-time basis, depending on availability of courses, whereas the Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing program involves full-time studies.

Working is not recommended when students are enrolled in full-time studies; the time commitment needed for this program makes it difficult for psychiatric nursing students to work while studying.

You will take classroom and clinical practice courses related to communication theory and techniques, psychiatric nursing theory and practice, psychomotor/clinical procedure skills, pharmacology, group theory and practice, and courses that are specific to psychiatric nursing practice settings. You will also take a variety of associated studies courses to increase your scope and breadth of knowledge to practice in the psychiatric nursing profession (Human Anatomy and Physiology, Ethics, English, Psychology).

Clinical practice experiences are offered in the following areas:

  • Acute Psychiatry and Tertiary Mental Health
  • Medical/Surgical Areas
  • Older Adult Psychiatry
  • Community Mental Health
  • Mental Health and Addictions

Scheduled class and clinical time is approximately 30-35 hours per week, plus additional hours of homework and preparation outside of class.

In Canada, Registered Psychiatric Nurses practice in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Yukon Territory. RPNs (or equivalent) practice in many of the Commonwealth countries. RPNs do not practice as Registered Psychiatric Nurses in the United States or the eastern Canadian provinces because these areas do not have distinct regulatory bodies for RPNs.

Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) are nurses who specialize in psychiatric or mental health care. They may perform standard nursing functions but also possess the clinical knowledge and skills required in mental health care settings. RPNs practice as part of a multidisciplinary team. They assess patient needs, develop therapeutic relationships, and assist them in reaching their optimum level of health.

Registered Psychiatric Nurses are governed under the Health Professions Act along with other nursing bodies and health professionals in this province. RPNs are not educated to practice in obstetrics, pediatrics or advanced medical/surgical settings.

Offers to this program are sent out on a first-qualified, first-admitted basis. Early application is recommended.



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Psych Nursing grad Dora Kamau aims to improve patient care by encouraging nurses to care for themselves first.
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A summer up north

Psychiatric nursing student Kaarun Sangra seizes early opportunity for valuable work experience
Photo of Brenna Robert

Guided by the Raven and Eagle

This Psychiatric Nursing grad found clarity by following her Indigenous Roots

More Information

Students in the BSPN program can only register in the same required associated studies courses or PNUR courses a maximum of twice (this includes “W” withdrawals that appear on a student’s transcript). 

Students in the BSPN program are required to obtain a passing grade of C+ or higher in all PNUR and associated studies courses to progress in the program.

Tuition deposit

When offered a full-time seat in this program a non-refundable, non-transferable $350 tuition deposit is required.

Curriculum Guidelines

Program Curriculum Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this program and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the program, consider the previous version as the applicable version.


Career Pathways

Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing can expect to find work in the following settings:

  • Rural and urban mental health or addiction programs
  • Acute psychiatric units in hospitals
  • Community mental health programs
  • Working with children and adolescents in mental health settings
  • Working with older adults in mental health settings.
  • Forensics (adult and adolescent)
  • Addiction services
  • Mental health urgent/emergency services
  • Health care leadership positions
  • Mental health or addiction residential services
  • Mental health tertiary care programs