What is an RN?

Registered nurses (RNs) represent one of the most highly educated professional groups. They are self-regulated health professionals who are accountable to the Standards of Practice and nursing values outlined in the Code of Ethics.

The title “RN” or “registered nurse” is a professional designation that refers to someone who is on the College’s RN register. This designation shows that an individual has completed an approved nursing education program, has passed an approved exam and has met all of the College’s requirements for registration. Only an individual on the RN register can use the title registered nurse, the abbreviation RN, or any derivative.

RNs work autonomously and in collaboration with others in a variety of practice roles. They practice as administrators, caregivers, counselors, patient care advocates, researchers, teachers, policy makers and more. This practice is supported through entry-level baccalaureate education programs that focus on the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, leadership, health teaching and research. It is from these broad areas of study that RNs base their practice. Nursing interventions are created in evidence gathered from research studies in theses different areas. This diverse educational background means that you will find RNs working with individuals, families, groups, communities and populations in urban, rural and remote areas. Within these areas, RNs can be found working with people of all ages who have a variety of physiological, emotional and mental health needs. RNs practice with a patient/client-centered approach meaning that they work together with the patient/client to achieve a realistic plan of care.

Registered Nursing in Manitoba

In order to practise registered nursing in Manitoba, individuals need to be registered with the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba (the College). The College currently registers over 13,000 RNs who work throughout the province in the direct provision of health care in hospital, long term care and community settings.

In Manitoba, the College has regulated nursing since 1913. Today there are more than 13,400 registered nurses.

Registers

There are five registers at the College. 

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  1. Practicing Registered Nurses
    Designation: registered nurse or RN

    RNs on the register of practicing registered nurses are entitled to:
    • engage in registered nursing practice in the provision of direct patient care, education of nursing students, leadership within health care and research
    • receive professional liability protection with the Canadian Nurses Protective Society (CNPS)
    • hold office on the College’s Board of Directors if elected
    • serve as an appointed member on any College committees
    • attend, participate, and vote at College meetings in accordance with College bylaws
    • receive official College publications
  2. Extended Practice
    Designation: registered nurse (extended practice) or RN(EP) / registered nurse (nurse practitioner) or RN(NP)

    RN(NP)s have completed advanced education (or have substantially equivalent education and experience) and have passed an approved exam demonstrating extended practice competencies. In addition to the scope of practice for an RN, an RN(NP) can independently prescribe drugs, order and manage the results of screening and diagnostic tests, and perform minor surgical and invasive procedures. The Extended Practice Regulation outlines the specific services in greater detail. 
    RN(NP)s are entitled to:
    • engage in extended nursing practice
    • receive professional liability protection with the Canadian Nurses Protective Society (CNPS)
    • hold office on the College’s Board of Directors if elected
    • serve as an appointed member on any College committees
    • attend, participate, and vote at College meetings in accordance with College bylaws
    • receive official College publications
  3. Graduate Nurse Practitioners
    Designation: Registered nurse (graduate nurse practitioner) or RN(GNP)

    RN(GNP)s have completed advanced education (or have substantially equivalent education and experience) and are waiting to write an approved exam demonstrating extended practice competencies, or have written an approved exam and are awaiting results.

    RN(GNP)s can work as nurse practitioners with some conditions on their practice. Allowing RN(GNP)s to practise while waiting for their exam results and with some conditions on their practice will help them consolidate their learning by applying it right away. This also contributes to a better understanding of the RN(NP) role by all health care team members. RN(GNP) registration is valid for four months and may be renewed for one additional four month period. 

    ​RNs on the graduate nurse practitioner register are entitled to:
    • engage in graduate nurse practitioner practice, subject to any restrictions or conditions placed on the member by the College
    • receive professional liability protection with the Canadian Nurses Protective Society (CNPS)
    • hold office on the College’s Board of Directors if elected
    • serve as an appointed member on any College committees
    • attend, participate, and vote at College meetings in accordance with College bylaws
    • receive official College publication

      An RN(GNP) may not independently:
    • prescribe
    • order or receive results of diagnostic tests
    • perform minor surgical or invasive procedures
  4. Non-Practicing Members
    Members who are not actively practicing and who do not plan to practise as an RN may opt to register on the register of non-practicing members.

    Non-practicing members:
    • can attend, participate, and vote at College meetings in accordance with College bylaws
    • can serve as a member on certain College committees
    • are not eligible for election to the College’s Board of Directors
    • receive official College publications
    • are not authorized to practise as a registered nurse or use the title RN
    • may not claim practice hours in Manitoba
    • do not hold professional liability protection with CNPS
  5. Graduate Nurses
    Designation: GN

    The graduate nurse register is an interim step for those who meet all of the requirements for registration as an RN except for passing the registration exam. In order to apply for registration as a GN, an individual must have been approved to write the exam or have written the exam and be awaiting results.

    ​Graduate nurses:
    • are entitled to engage in nursing practice, subject to any restrictions or conditions placed on the member by the College
    • are entitled to receive professional liability protection with the Canadian Nurses Protective Society (CNPS)
    • are entitled to serve as an appointed member on any College committees
    • are entitled to attend and participate in College meetings receive copies of official college publications
    • are not eligible for election to the College’s Board of Directors
    • are not eligible to vote at College meetings
    • may not be the chairperson of a College committee