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Career-long Learning Program

Welcome to the RPNAS Career-long Learning Program (CLP).

RPNs and GPNs are safe, competent, and ethical care providers who are dedicated to lifelong learning and career-span competence.

CLP member requirements

Each year from January 1 to December 31 RPNs engage in a process of continually reflecting on their practice, developing learning goals, engaging in learning activities to address their goals, applying, and reflecting on their learning. This is a cyclical and iterative process which may change throughout the year as new opportunities and challenges arise for the RPN. GPNs also engage in the CLP starting when they obtain their initial temporary license with the RPNAS. RPNs and GPNs are required to document their engagement in one reflective cycle of the Career-long Learning Program (CLP) each registration year.

Members are required to complete the reflective review annually and declare their compliance with the CLP process when applying for registration renewal. Members will no longer enter their continuing education into the RPNAS database. They must document and retain their reflective review for 5 years in case they are selected as part of the verification process. Members are required to produce their documentation if selected for verification.

Summary of Career-long Learning Requirements and Reflective Cycle

Members complete an annual reflective review that involves:

  1. Self-assessment of their practice using the current standards of psychiatric nursing practice
  2. Create learning goal(s) based on the self-assessment
  3. Complete learning activities that relate to the chosen learning goal(s)
  4. Reflect on what was learned
  5. Implement the learning in their practice
  6. Evaluate the effectiveness of the learning on their practice
  7. Complete the Reflective Practice Review Form.

Administrative responsibilities:

  • Retaining documentation for 5 years in case they are selected for annual verification.
  • At registration renewal, members declare their compliance with the CLP.


Self assessment is an important part of being a professional. Every practicing RPN and GPN must reflect to identify strengths and areas of growth within their practice.

Reflection often occurs automatically throughout the course of one’s work and daily living. For example, a psychiatric nurse might review an interaction that occurred earlier in the day to determine how things went and how they might respond to similar situations in the future. These reflections can result in learning and a deepening of one’s psychiatric nursing practice. Informal reflections can also generate new or adjustments to existing learning goals.


Approaching self-assessment in a more structured way is also valuable. As part of the annual reflective requirements of RPNAS’ CLP, all practicing RPNs and GPNs must self-assess their practice using the current standards of psychiatric nursing practice. This self-assessment will form the basis of each member’s reflective practice review. Based on the standard of practice the member decides what learning to focus on for the year.

Feedback is an important part psychiatric nurses’ professional practice. Feedback can help a psychiatric nurse identify areas in their practice where they can improve. A trusted peer or colleague is a valuable source of insight into a nurse’s own practice. Obtaining feedback is not a required component of the RPNAS CLP, however, members may choose to utilize any feedback obtained to help them fulfill the CLP requirements.

The Self-Assessment Guideline is based on the RPNAS’ current standards of psychiatric nursing practice and is designed to be used as an optional tool to support the member’s reflection. The psychiatric nurse may choose to use the Self-Assessment Guide to help their reflection. Or they can choose to refer directly to the Standards of Psychiatric Nursing Practice, 2019 for their self-assessment.

Psychiatric nurses continue reflection throughout the year by critically thinking about their practice, adjusting their learning priorities as needed, selecting, and engaging in learning activities that relate to their learning goals, implementing their learning and evaluating the impact of their learning on their practice.

The learning goal that a member selects might change throughout the year. This is acceptable and should be noted on the Reflective Review Form with an explanation of how their learning needs evolved throughout the year.

Learning goals, activities + implementation

Members develop at least one learning goal and document their goal on the Reflective Practice Review Form. Members then complete learning activities that will help them accomplish their learning goal(s).

Learning goals and activities must relate to the psychiatric nurse’s self-assessment and application of the standards to their practice at minimum. Members should complete learning activities throughout the registration year and apply what they have learned in their practice.

It is expected that a member’s learning goals and therefore, the activities they engage in will evolve throughout their psychiatric nursing career.

Learning activities

Learning activities must:

  • Relate to the learning goal(s) established for the renewal year
  • Be focused on building on the member’s psychiatric nursing competencies in the pursuit of life-long learning
  • Be varied and evidence-informed
  • Be professional in orientation
  • Be clearly described on the Reflective Review Form:
    * write out acronyms and abbreviations
    * specify titles, authors, and date of publications when using books, articles, webpages, and web-based resources.
    * provide the links for online resource

Some examples of learning activities include:

  • Participation in courses, workshops, conferences, and presentations
  • Reading articles, books, and other resources
  • Reviewing reputable web-based resources such as podcasts, videos, and websites
  • Authoring or co-authoring journal article, book chapter, or book
  • Developing and delivering a presentation
  • Developing learning module(s)
  • Certification in a type of therapy or specialty
  • Receiving or providing mentorship or preceptorship
    • Preceptorship, mentorship, and coaching are an expected part of psychiatric nursing practice
    • Use of preceptorship or mentorship as part of the CLP must relate to a learning goal
    • Preceptorship activities must go beyond having a student accompany the member during their workday
    • Mentorship also goes beyond informal discussions and support of a student or new RPN.
    • Learning activities must reflect what the member have learned, how they implemented and evaluated that learning
    • If relevant, the member should seek out information that assists them in providing quality preceptorship and mentorship activities, and identify feedback and evaluation of learning processes

Participation in workplace quality assurance initiative
The key consideration related to whether an activity is acceptable for a member’s CLP is how it relates to the competencies, standards, and ethics used within the member’s current psychiatric nursing practice. It is expected that a member be able to describe what they have learned and how they have implemented learning from an opportunity within their practice.

If you are unsure whether an activity qualifies for the CLP, contact us at:

CLP Toolkit

Members may choose to use the optional Self-Assessment Guide to support their reflection on their practice. This may help members to identify a standard of practice to focus on for their CLP. RPNAS will not ask to see members self-assessment. It is a guide meant for the member’s own use.

Alternatively, members may wish to refer directly to the Standards of Nursing Practice to help them self-assess their practice and create a learning goal.

RPNAS members must document their engagement in the CLP annually, including, selecting the standard(s) of psychiatric nursing practice to focus on, identifying a goal(s), completing learning activities, discussing what was learned and how this learning was implemented in their practice. Finally, the member is required to document an evaluation of their learning.

The Reflective Practice Review Form is designed to be a living document that members use throughout the year to document their engagement in learning that relates to their psychiatric nursing practice. Members could document these elements on a different document/in a different format however all elements must be covered.

Members are required to retain their documentation for 5 years and produce this documentation in the case they are selected for annual verification of the CLP. It is advised that members save their documentation in more than one format in case of loss or a technical issue (e.g., electronic copies stored in two or more places or electronic and hard copies stored).

Reflective Practice Review Example
The Reflective Practice Review Example is intended to provide members an illustration of what a reflective review may look like. Each member is unique, as is their practice, so it is expected that member reflective reviews will reflect this individuality. It is also expected that members reflective practice reviews will vary from year to year as they deepen and grow in their practice and as new innovations and care needs arise within their practice environments.


As required in RPNAS legislation the organization is responsible for validating participation in the CLP. The CLP Verification Criteria Form will be used by the RPNAS CLP Verification Panel and/or Registrar to review members’ reflective reviews.

When renewing their annual registration, members are required to declare their compliance with the CLP that year. Members are not required to submit their CLP documentation yearly but are required to retain that documentation for 5 years and provide it to the RPNAS as required.

Each year RPNAS will select members who are practicing and/or who were practicing in the previous year to participate in the CLP Verification Process. It is recommended that members save their documentation in more than one format. Members may be asked to produce documentation of their participation in the CLP from the previous 5 years.