Working as a Nurse Practitioner in BC

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are Registered Nurses who have additional education and nursing experience. In BC, NPs are Advanced Practice Nurses that are licensed by the College of Registered Nurses of BC (CRNBC) in the classification - Nurse Practitioner.

Nurse Practitioners provide comprehensive clinical care including the diagnosis and management of disease/illness, prescribing medications, ordering/interpreting laboratory/diagnostic tests, and initiating referrals to specialists.

Does NP practice require physician supervision?

NP practice does not require physician supervision.

What kind of healthcare services do NP’s provide?

NPs are able to:

  • Provide comprehensive health assessments and perform check-ups.
  • Diagnose health conditions.
  • Treat and manage acute and chronic illness.
  • Treat and manage simple and complex health issues.
  • Order and interpret screening and diagnostic tests.
  • Order procedures.
  • Prescribe treatment and medications.
  • Refer clients to other healthcare professionals and specialists.
  • Treat, transfer, and may discharge in-patients, and community out-patients from hospitals.
  • Provide counselling and education.

Where do NPs work?

NPs work in acute care, primary care, long term/residential care and in rural and remote settings.

How many NP’s are there in BC?

Currently in BC there are 425 practicing and provisional NPs working independently and in collaboration with other health professionals. (Source: CRNBC, 2017)

Practice categories for NP’s in BC:

Adult: NPs who work with adults and older adults.
Family: NPs who work with populations from infants to older adults.
Pediatric: NPs who work with infants to adolescents.

For more information on NP scope of practice please visit the College of Registered Nurses of BC

How to become a Nurse Practitioner:

In order to become a nurse practitioner within B.C, you must be a practicing registered nurse, or be eligible for practicing registration. Nurses seeking to become a nurse practitioner must complete a CRNBC recognized NP program (Master’s level), or equivalent.

There are three CRNBC recognized NP programs within the province including:
* University of British Columbia
* University of Northern British Columbia
* University of Victoria

Admission requirements among NP programs vary, and generally require a specified minimum number of hours worked as an RN prior to applying.
Upon completing a NP program, applicants must successfully complete both a written and practical (OSCE) examination.

Resources for Nurse Practitioners

BC Nurse Practitioner Association

The BCNPA represents the unique perspectives and needs of NPs and their practice in the province’s health and social policy system.
Visit the BCNPA for a resources, practice support and information about upcoming events and opportunities for NPs.

Canadian Nurses Association

Offers a wealth of NP resources, research reports and nurse practitioner profiles as well as information about the Canadian Nurse Practitioner Initiative

Canadian Association of Advanced Practice Nurses

A national Canadian organization consisting of over 1300 members, mainly Advanced Practice Nurses, encompassing a multitude of specialties.

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