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​Nurse​​s with the BCCNM certified practice designation have completed additional education, have specialized knowledge and skills, and are registered to practice in one or more certified practice areas.

What will I learn?

  • What the certified practice designation is and what certified practice areas are available.
  • What the scope of practice is for a certified practice nurse.
  • What to know about certified practice and prescribing medications.

What's ​new​​​​

  • ​The BCCNM board on April 2, 2024, approved a new prescribing course for ​​Certified Practice nurses. Certified practice RNs who complete the Safe Prescribing for Registered Nurses with Certified Practice course may apply for prescribing authority from BCCNM.​ Learn more »

  • ​​The BCCNM board in September 2023 approved a series of new and amended standards, limits, and conditions to create a new designation of certified practice for opioid use disorder (OUD) for registered nurses (RNs) and registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs). Learn more »



Scope of Practice for Registered Nurses: Sta​ndards, Limits, Conditions

What​​ is certified​​ practice?

Certified practice (CP) is a term used to describe a distinct BCCNM nursing designation for RNs and RPNs. Nurses who obtain the BCCNM-certified practice designation have an expanded scope of practice and are authorized to carry out activities in Section 6, 7, and 8 of the Regulation, if they meet BCCNM standards, limits, and conditions. 

CP nurses practice autonomously to diagnose and treat clients in one or more pre-determined practice areas following certified practice decision support tools (DSTs). RNs with the certified practice designation use the title Registered Nurse (Certified) or RN(C).

Differences between certified practice RN and the general practice RN designations​​

RN (Certified practice)
​ RN (general practice)
  • Diagnose an​d treat clients’ conditions, diseases, and disorders within the DSTs.
  • Make a nursing diagnosis and treat clients’ conditions within the RN autonomous scope of practice and the nurse's individual competence.
  • Make a nursing diagnosis and treat clients’ conditions within the RN autonomous scope practice and the nurse's individual competence.
  • Order diagnostic tests for the client within DSTs.
  • Order only diagnostic tests for communicable diseases.
  • Prescribe drugs for OUD within the DSTs if they have OUD certified practice designation. Note that RN(C)s who do not have OUD certified practice cannot prescribe​.
  • Not authorized to prescribe.
  • Use the title Registered Nurse (Certified) or RN(C).
  • Use the title Registered Nurse​ or RN.

Being certified in one certified practice area does not authorize care in another certified practice area. For example, if you are a certified practice nurse in Remote Nursing, you are not automatically certified in any of the other CP areas. Each area requires completion of specific educ​ational courses and BCCNM registration in that area.

To maintain the certified practice designation, CP nurses meet the certified practice annual quality assurance requirements. 

Note: Gaining certification through an association like the Canadian Nursing Association or another agency is not the same as the BCCNM-certified practice designation and does not allow a nurse to practice in a certified practice area or to use the certified practice title. 

Certified practice activities​​

Certified practice activities are the restricted activities laid out in Section 8: Restricted Activities for Certified Practice of the RN Scope of Practice standard. Be familiar with the limits and conditions that you need to meet when practicing in one or more CP areas. 

The DSTs mentioned earlier set the parameters for certified practice activities—only those activities included in the DSTs are authorized. Certified Practice DSTs and competencies are maintained by the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC (NNPBC) and the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) and can be accessed through their respective websites. 


Prescribing is an activity t​hat only nurses with the Opioid Use Disorder ​certified practice designation or nurs​es who have taken the Safe Prescribing for Registered Nurses With Certified Practice course are authorized to carry out. More information on prescribing >>>

Areas of certified practice 

Obtaining BCCNM certified practice expands the core competencies of an RN in five practice areas. It is recommended that you discuss with your workplace the certified practices areas you may require to best meet the needs of the client population you care for. The certified practice designation is not appropriate for those seeking to be self-employed.

Remote nursing Certified (RN Only)

Remote Certified Practice often occurs in communities that do not have doctors or NPs who practice there. Instead doctors or NPs visit periodically and are available to provide consultation to the RN.

RNs who hold BCCNM certification in Remote Nursing may diagnose and treat minor acute illnesses as set out in the Remote Nursing DSTs. 

Reproductive Health (Sexually Transmitted Infections) Certified (RN only)

RNs who hold BCCNM certification in Reproductive Health: Sexually Trans​​mitted Infections (STI) may diagnose and treat some sexually transmitted syndromes and infections in clients as set out within the STI DSTs. Consultation or referral to a doctor or NP is required for all pregnant or breastfeeding clients.

Reproductive Health (Contraceptive Management) Certified (RN only)

RNs who hold BCCNM ce​​rtification in Contraceptive Management (CM) are permitted within their autonomous scope of practice to dispense and/or administer hormonal contraception to eligible clients as set out in CM DSTs.

RN First Call Certified (RN only)

RN First Call frequently (but not necessarily) occurs in small acute care hospitals, diagnostic and treatment centres, and other settings where there is limited physician or nurse practitioner service avai​​lable in the community.  Registered nurses who hold BCCNM certification in RN First Call may diagnose and treat minor acute illnesses as set out in the RN First Call DSTs.​

Opioid Use Disorder Certified (available to both RPNs and RNs)

RNs and RPNs who complete certification can diagnose and treat opioid use disorder (OUD), including the prescribing of controlled drugs and substances. Also, they can issue orders that non-certified practice nurses can act on to compound, dispense, and administer drugs to clients for OUD treatment.​

No not currently. Education specific to prescribing is required prior to existing RN(C)s acting as an RN(C) prescriber. At this time, BCCNM-approved education related to prescribing is not yet available. In the meantime, RN(C)s are still authorized to administer and dispense medications using current processes established by their employer(s).​​​​​​​​​​​​


BCCNM resources



External resources

Need help or su​​pport?​

For further guidance on understanding and applying the standards of practice, contact our team by completing the Standards Support intake form.​​

900 – 200 Granville St
Vancouver, BC  V6C 1S4

​Toll-free 1.866.880.7101 (within Canada only) ​

We acknowledge the rights and title of the First Nations on whose collective unceded territories encompass the land base colonially known as British Columbia. We give specific thanks to the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking peoples the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-ulh Sníchim speaking Peoples the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), on whose unceded territories BCCNM’s office is located. We also give thanks for the medicines of these territories and recognize that laws, governance, and health systems tied to these lands and waters have existed here for over 9000 years.

We also acknowledge the unique and distinct rights, including rights to health and wellness, of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples from elsewhere in Canada who now live in British Columbia. As leaders in the settler health system, we acknowledge our responsibilities to these rights under international, national, and provincial law.​