Scope of practice refers to the range of activities that members of our profession are educated in and legally authorized to provide.
In legal terms, the practice of psychiatric nursing is defined in the Registered Psychiatric Nurses Act as:
[…] the application of psychiatric nursing knowledge, skill and judgment to promote mental health, prevent mental illness, minimize the effects of mental illness and developmental challenges and assist individuals, families, groups and communities to achieve an optimal state of health. The practice includes education, administration and research related to psychiatric nursing.
The actual scope of practice of an individual RPN may be more focused. It is shaped by experience, professional development, opportunities to develop specific competencies, and opportunities for continuing competence.
This means that in actual practice, the type of care that RPNs provide in our community can vary a great deal. This variety is one of the strengths of our profession. The flexibility of the RPN scope of practice allows us to serve specific needs in a wide range of settings – in the private and public sector, in health care and industry, and beyond.