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Using the title “nurse” carries particular meaning and conveys a level of knowledge and skill in managing the health care of a client. Reserved titles are restricted by the Health Professions Act for use only by the registrants of a regulatory college. Only individuals who are registered with BCCNM may use a reserved nursing title in B.C. and the permission to do so is granted as part of registration with BCCNM.

Practice Standard


Test your "use of titles" know-how with the scenarios below, created from real practice support questions.

New grad, new title

Brianna is a new graduate who recently registered with BCCNM. While preparing to write her nursing exam, she is working in her first job as a nurse. During her orientation, a colleague tells her she should sign LGN after her name. Brianna thought she was supposed to use the title RN Provisional but now she’s not sure.​

What title can she use?

Brianna is right: she has provisional registration and should use the title Registered Nurse (Provisional) or RN(P). She can sign her documentation as RN(P). When Brianna passes the NCLEX, her provisional registration will automatically convert to practising.

Licensed Graduate Nurses (LGNs) are nurses granted registration with RNABC in B.C. prior to October 1, 1990. This title is no longer issued. An LGN may perform or provide the same service as RNs.  

​Role vs. title in documentation

Matt, an RPN,  works as a public health nurse and sees his colleagues using “PHN” when they sign their documentation. When he asks about it, he’s told it stands for Public Health Nurse and more clearly reflects their day-to-day practice and the care they provide. He thought he was supposed to use RPN, but now he’s not sure.

How should he sign his documentation?

While using PHN is optional, Matt should include his title, RPN, when signing his documentation. Nurses are required to sign their client documentation using a title that reflects their registration class, such as LPN, RN, RPN or RN(C).

When Matt signs his documentation and includes his title, he reflects his scope of practice and demonstrates professional accountability and responsibility.


I work in the community and see nurses signing as PHN and HCN. What is the correct nursing title to use in documentation?

​You should use the title that most accurately reflects your registrant class and practice. This might be RN for a registered nurse, LPN for a licensed practical nurse, RPN for registered psychiatric nurse, or RN(C) for a BCCNM-certified registered nurse working in that practice area. Adding your signature and title to your entries on the health record reflects your scope of practice and indicates accountability for your practice. 

Refer to the Use of Titles practice standard for more information.

Do my clients have the right to know my name?

Introducing yourself to clients is an important aspect of building a therapeutic relationship and establishing trust. When a nurse introduces themselves to a client, it helps to establish a personal connection, which can help to create a sense of comfort and security for the client.

In addition to building trust and rapport, introducing yourself is also an important aspect of professionalism. Clients have a right to know who is caring for them and one way of showing your accountability is by sharing your name and title with your clients (see the Use of Title practice standard).

Finally, introducing oneself can also help to prevent confusion or misunderstandings, especially in settings where multiple health-care providers may be involved in a client's care. By clearly identifying themselves, nurses can help to ensure that clients know who they are and what their role is in their care.

A nurse’s full name and workplace is accessible on the public registry on the BCCNM website. Also, when clients request their health record, they will see the nurse’s full name. 

All nurses have the right to be safe and some practice settings may choose not to have a nurse’s full name on name tags. However, nurses are still responsible and accountable for identifying themselves to their clients even when  their full name is not on their name tag.

Workplaces balance clients' interests with staff safety, thorough policies on staff identification, and the release of nurses’ names. A nurse who has reasonable grounds to be concerned for their safety (i.e., has received threats of physical violence) is encouraged to work with their workplace, which has a responsibility to help protect them against workplace violence and harassment. ​​