Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses

Occupation:Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses

About the job

Nature of work:

This group includes registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses and graduates of a nursing program who are awaiting registration (graduate nurses). They provide direct nursing care to patients, deliver health education programs and provide consultative services regarding issues relevant to the practice of nursing. They are employed in a variety of settings including hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, rehabilitation centres, doctors' offices, clinics, community agencies, companies, private homes, and public and private organizations, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties:
General duty registered nurses perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Assess patients to identify appropriate nursing interventions.
  • Collaborate with members of an interdisciplinary health team to plan, implement, coordinate and evaluate patient care in consultation with patients and their families.
  • Administer medications and treatments as prescribed by a physician or according to established policies and protocols.
  • Monitor, assess, address, document and report symptoms and changes in patients' conditions.
  • Operate or monitor medical apparatus or equipment.
  • Assist in surgery and other medical procedures.
  • May supervise licensed practical nurses and other nursing staff.
  • May develop and implement discharge planning process on admission of patients.
  • May teach and counsel patients and their families on health-related issues in collaboration with other health care providers.
  • Occupational health nurses develop and implement employee health education programs and provide registered nursing care in private businesses and industry.
  • Community health nurses provide health education and registered nursing care in public health units and through home visits, manage complex home care cases, participate in community needs assessment and program development, conduct disease screening and deliver immunization programs.
  • Psychiatric nurses provide nursing care, supportive counselling and life skills programming to patients in psychiatric hospitals, mental health clinics, long-term care facilities and community-based settings.
  • Nursing consultants provide consultative services to institutes, associations and health care organizations regarding issues and concerns relevant to the nursing profession and nursing practice.
  • Nursing researchers engaged in research activities related to nursing are self-employed or are employed by hospitals, public and private organizations and governments.
  • Clinical nurses provide leadership, advice and counsel on the provision of research-based care for specific patient groups within the care of particular health care organizations.

Registered nurses may specialize in areas such as surgery, obstetrics care, psychiatric care, critical care, pediatrics, geriatrics, community health, occupational health, emergency care, rehabilitation or oncology.

Sample job titles:
  • critical care nurse
  • occupational health nurse
  • operating room (OR) nurse
  • pediatric nurse
  • primary care nurse
  • public and community health nurse
  • registered nurse (R.N.)
  • registered psychiatric nurse (R.P.N.)
  • staff nurse
  • Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) nurse

To practice nursing, you should have a desire to respond to the emotional, physical, and social needs of people. You should also have skills and aptitudes in the following areas: interpersonal relationships; communication; emotional stability; critical thinking; good judgement; and creativity. Good health and physical stamina may also be required.

Job requirements:
Registered nurses
  • Completion of a university, college or other approved registered nursing program is required.
  • Additional academic training or experience is required to specialize in a specific area of nursing.
  • A master's or doctoral degree in nursing is usually required for clinical nurse specialists, clinical nurses, nursing consultants and nursing researchers.
  • Registration with a regulatory body is required in Nova Scotia. Registered psychiatric nurses
  • Completion of a university or college registered psychiatric nursing program is required.
Other considerations:

In Nova Scotia registered nurses (RN) may work as psychiatric nurses without separate registration. Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses may progress to supervisory and managerial positions with experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia, with employment around 9,950. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. Also, a large percentage of the workforce is self-employed, which should be an important consideration for those thinking about employment in the occupation.

The median employment income for 55% of Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $78,116. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses9,245Moderate growth1,175Low
Minimum: $21.25
Median: $37.00
Maximum: $41.00
Minimum: $16,039
Median: $64,375
Maximum: $89,040
Occupations in Health36,515Strong growth4,385Low
Minimum: $16.38
Median: $25.50
Maximum: $41.00
Minimum: $10,740
Median: $43,853
Maximum: $88,944
Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric NursesCompared to: Occupations in Health
Percent employed full-time75%77%
Percent self-employed79%10%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentRegistered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric NursesCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton17%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley9%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeRegistered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric NursesCompared to: All Health
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4644
GenderRegistered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric NursesCompared to: Occupations in Health
% Employed% Employed
EducationRegistered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric NursesCompared to: All Health
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolN/Ax1.1%$27,581
High school0.9%x6.9%$24,119
Trades certificate2.5%x5.0%$31,728
College certificate or diploma33.1%$54,77439.4%$36,693
University certificate or diploma7.3%$80,0164.8%$50,769
Bachelor's degree49.9%$74,75427.6%$57,186
University advanced certificate or diploma2.4%$84,0062.3%$61,833
Master's degree0.1%$75,1395.1%$87,808
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry0.1%x7.2%$83,000
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Registered Nurse
Right to Title and Practice:This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia
7071 Bayers Road, Suite 4005
Halifax, NS B3L 2C2
(800) 565-9744
(902) 491-9510
Useful contacts:
Operating Room Nurses Association of Nova Scotia
Occupational Health Nurses Association of Nova Scotia
PO Box 29057
Halifax, NS B3L 4T8
Family Practice Nurses Association of Nova Scotia
, NS
Canadian Nurses Association
50 Driveway
Ottawa, ON K2P 1E2
Tel: (613) 237-2133
Fax: (613) 237-3520
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572
Nova Scotia Nurses Union
30 Frazee Avenue
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1X4
Tel: (800) 469-1474
Fax: (902) 466-6935

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Geriatric nurse/nursing
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares registered nurses to provide health care to aging and elderly patients. These programs include courses in geriatric primary care, geriatric diagnosis, mental health and aging, primary care management, geriatric acute and chronic illness, advanced nursing practices for geriatric patients, evidence-based nursing practice, advanced physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, and pharmacotherapeutics.
See all institutions providing this program+
St. Francis Xavier University
PO Box 5000
Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5
(902) 867-2219
Program Name:Nurse/nursing assistant/aide and patient care assistant/aide
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to perform routine nursing-related services to patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities, under the training and supervision of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse.
See all institutions providing this program+
Cape Breton Business College
315 Jamieson Street PO Box 33 Whitney Pier
Sydney, NS B1N 3B1
(902) 564-2222
Eastern College - Halifax
6940 Mumford Road, Suite 111
Halifax, NS B3L 0B7
(902) 423-3933
Success College
800 Sackville Drive
Lower Sackville, NS B4E 1R8
(902) 865-8283
Island Career Academy
721 Alexandra Street
Sydney, NS B1S 2H4
(902) 564-6112
DaVinci College of Art and Design NS Ltd.
1577 Barrington Street
Halifax, NS B3J 1Z7
(902) 429-1847
Futureworx Career College
80 Glenwood Drive
Truro, NS B2N 1P3
(902) 895-2837
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
St. Francis Xavier University
PO Box 5000
Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5
(902) 867-2219
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute
80 Mawiomi Place
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5
(902) 491-1100
11 Opportunity Lane
Coldbrook, NS B4R 0A5
(902) 679-2755
Program Name:Nursing/registered nurse (RN, ASN, BScN, MScN)
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that generally prepares individuals in the knowledge, techniques and procedures for promoting health, providing care for sick, disabled, infirm, or other individuals or groups. These programs include courses in the administration of medication and treatments, assisting a physician during treatments and examinations, referring patients to physicians and other health care specialists, and planning education for health maintenance.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
St. Francis Xavier University
PO Box 5000
Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5
(902) 867-2219
Cape Breton University
PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6L2
(888) 959-9995
Additional resources: