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RN Mental Health Nursing Certificate

RN (Registered Nurse) Mental Health Nursing (Certificate Program)

The RN Mental Health Certificate Program is a self-paced, on-line, instructor-supported program that prepares Registered Nurses to work in a Mental Health setting. The full program includes four courses and a clinical component.

Program Learning Outcomes

Program graduates will be equipped to:

  • demonstrate responsibility and accountability for their 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 mental health-related needs;
  • demonstrate responsibility and accountability for their 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 their own practice with ethical and legal parameters.



The clinical component of the program is the student’s opportunity to apply their learning to their practice. The form that their clinical experience will take will be based on the student’s experience and learning needs, as determined through an interview with the Douglas College Continuing Education faculty. The forms of clinical experience are:

  1. Knowledge Transfer: On-line and at Your Workplace (160 hrs)

The Knowledge Transfer (KT) course transfers/applies the four Mental Health courses to clinical practice at the student's workplace. Students complete a series of assignments that are downloaded and submitted online. These assignments are critiqued by the instructor using detailed grading forms and e-mail feedback. This flexible application of the knowledge base allows staff nurses to continue their paid employment.

  1. Psychiatric Nursing Clinical Practice (160 hrs)

Under the supervision of a volunteer preceptor, the student is required to complete 160 hours of clinical practice at a psychiatric/mental health nursing clinical setting that provides nursing care for a variety of clients with common mental health problems.  The student will be required to: establish, maintain and terminate therapeutic relationships; admit a client; assess, develop and evaluate nursing care plans; develop and implement a teaching/learning and discharge plan; demonstrate knowledge and understanding of drugs to be administered; participate in organized activities; and carry out routine psychiatric nursing care as part of the health care team in the clinical setting.  This preceptorship takes approximately one month to complete on a full-time basis; part-time preceptorships are possible.  Paid employment may not constitute any of the clinical hours required.  Students are urged to plan to make work and family arrangements to accommodate the preceptorship time required. Summer and late December preceptorships are avoided.

Program Admission Requirements

Program applicants must submit:

  • a program application form (link below) to the Faculty of Health Sciences Continuing Education; and
  • a copy of current active registration in the CRNBC.  Canadian applicants outside of B.C. submit a copy of their active RN registration from their province. Applicants from outside Canada submit a copy of their registration.

Three months prior to the clinical practice experience, students who take the clinical practice experience must submit a:

  • current CPR Level C or CPR-HCP that will not expire during clinical experience. The certificate must be issued no more than twelve months prior to the completion of preceptorship, and
  • a Criminal Record Search (CRS) to the Douglas College Registrar.  To do so, go to https://justice.gov.bc.ca/eCRC/ 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

Program Duration

Students have a maximum of twenty-four months to complete the program with Knowledge Transfer completion; up to eighteen months to complete the program with Clinical Practice completion.
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: RN Mental Health Nursing.

Download RNMH Program Application Form