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Psychiatric Nursing Refresher Certificate Program

Recognized by the CRPNBC (College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of British Columbia)

The Psychiatric Nursing Refresher Certificate Program is a self-paced, on-line, instructor-supported program that prepares

  • former Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) who have been non-practicing for at least 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 Registered Psychiatric Nurse in BC document available at, or
  • practising RPNs who wish to have a refresher that includes both theory and preceptorship.

The Program includes five courses, an on-line clinical skills component, and a full-time clinical preceptorship experience in an acute care psychiatric setting.

Program Learning Outcomes

Program graduates will be equipped to:

  • demonstrate responsibility and accountability for 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 for a client in a mental health setting;
  • apply principles of teaching and learning to assist individuals to meet health-related needs;
  • demonstrate responsibility and accountability for own nursing practice in a mental health setting;
  • 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 own practice with ethical and legal parameters.


Entrance Requirements

Program applicants must submit:

  • a program application form (link below) to the Faculty of Health Sciences Continuing Education;
  • a letter from the Professional Association in the province they will be registered in indicating that they are eligible to take the Refresher Program (note: RPNs may apply directly to the program).
Students must also submit documentation of the following three months before beginning the Clinical Practice course:
  • a Criminal Record Search (CRS) to the Douglas College Registrar. To do so, go to and use the Douglas College Access Code PW7Z8SWPNB to complete the Criminal Record Check process. During the online request process, please use “Practicum Student” when you are asked to provide your “Position/Job Title”. Students are responsible for the costs associated with CRS. Please arrange for the Criminal Record Check to be mailed directly to:
    Douglas College
    P.O. Box 2503
    New Westminster, BC V3L 5B2
  • submit a current CPR C or CPR-HCP certificate that will not expire prior to completion of the clinical experience. The certificate must be issued no more than twelve months prior to the completion of preceptorship
  • Standard First Aid
  • Respiratory Mask Fitting
  • Health Authority Student Practice Core Orientation
  • Health Authority - specific requirements

Program Duration

Students have up to thirty months to complete the program. However, this is a maximum timeline. As courses are self-paced and registration is continuous, dedicated students may complete the entire program in less than the maximum time permitted.


Upon successful completion of the program, students are granted a Douglas College Continuing Education Program Certificate: Psychiatric Nursing Refresher.

Download the Refresher PNRS Program Application Form