Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses

(NOC 3012)

in All Health

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

Job Outlook

Good

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  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 650 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate 705 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 3180 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The demand for nurses has increased because of the pandemic. Many of the additional positions are the result of COVID-19 testing and tracing. In March, dozens of nurses were hired to staff the 811-health information phone line, some of whom came out of retirement. In September, the provincial health authority created 100 more positions to support contact tracing. Many nurses’ tasks have changed because of the pandemic. Those employed in hospitals experienced varying workloads as non-urgent procedures were cancelled in the spring to prepare for an influx of COVID-19 patients. Though there were several hospitalized individuals during the first wave of cases, the number of COVID-19 patients did not strain nursing staff and resources in hospitals as expected. Some nurses contracted COVID-19 due to workplace exposure, particularly in long-term care settings. Others voluntarily self-isolated from family members to reduce the risk of accidentally passing on the virus. Some private online contact centres (unrelated to the provincial public health system) have been hiring nurses remotely to staff telehealth services.

In general, demand for registered nurses in Nova Scotia is strong, due in part to the needs of an aging population. At the same time, the growth of total employment in hospitals and long-term care homes is sometimes limited by budget constraints. Many unemployed nurses find employment easily, including recent graduates. However, those with less experience may fill casual positions at first and may not immediately find an opportunity to work in their preferred branch of medicine. In recent years, some rural areas have experienced a shortage of nurses severe enough to impact service provision and prompt recruitment outside of the province. A willingness to relocate may improve a jobseeker’s prospects. Collaborative care clinics employ an increasing number of registered nurses. In these clinics, nurses work alongside different health professionals and practitioners to provide primary care.

The median employment income for the 54% of Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $78,116. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, the 59% of those who worked full-time, year-round had a median employment income of $43,600. (Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$24.00

Minimum

$38.00

Median

$42.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$16,039

Minimum

$64,375

Median

$89,040

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$30.45

Median

$41.35

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

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

Job duties

General duty registered nurses:

  • Assess patients to identify appropriate nursing interventions.
  • Work 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.
  • Help with 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, as self-employed or as 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 health care organizations.

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

Skills

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

  • 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:

  • A university or college registered psychiatric nursing program is required.

Other considerations

Nurses often work shifts that include nights, weekends, and holidays. Nursing can be mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding work. Registered nurses may progress to supervisory and managerial positions with experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

10,245

employed in 2016

73.7%

employed full-time

1.2%

self employed

94.1%
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5.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

75.7%

employed full-time

9.6%

self employed

83.6%
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16.4%
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43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

47.1%

Halifax

17.1%

Cape Breton

16.3%

North Shore

10.0%

Southern

9.5%

Annapolis Valley

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

95.1%

Health care and social assistance

2.7%

Public administration

0.5%

Educational services

0.4%

Other services (except public administration)

0.3%

Retail trade

What is the age of Employment?

25.0%

45-54

23.0%

25-34

22.0%

55-64

19.0%

35-44

6.0%

15-24

4.0%

65+

Compared to: All Health

24.0%

25-34

23.9%

45-54

21.9%

35-44

18.4%

55-64

7.7%

15-24

Top levels of education

49.9%

Bachelor

$72,428 median annual income
33.1%

College Diploma

$53,389 median annual income
7.3%

Diploma Below Bachelor

$60,645 median annual income
3.7%

Master

$74,486 median annual income
2.5%

Apprenticeship

$42,993 median annual income

Compared to: All Health

38.4%

College Diploma

$40,033 median annual income
27.1%

Bachelor

$61,668 median annual income
8.7%

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Optometry

$81,191 median annual income
6.8%

High school

$24,829 median annual income
5.1%

Master

$69,296 median annual income

Education & training

Critical Care Nursing

College or University Program

These programs prepare registered nurses to provide specialized care to patients with life-threatening problems, including those in intensive care facilities and on life support. They include courses in adult, neonatal, and pediatric critical care, technical skills, patient monitoring and assessment, normal and abnormal readings, and troubleshooting.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Geriatric Nursing

College or University Program

These programs prepare registered nurses to provide health care to aging and elderly patients. They 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.

Institutions providing this program

St. Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS

Nursing Assistant/Aide and Patient Care Assistant

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students 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.

Institutions providing this program

CBBC Career College Inc. - Sydney Campus

Sydney, NS

Maritime Business College

Lower Sackville, NS

Eastern College - Halifax

Halifax, NS

Island Career Academy

Sydney, NS

Futureworx Career College

Truro, NS

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

St. Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus

Middleton, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus

Springhill, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus

Yarmouth, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

Kentville, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus

Bridgewater, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries

Stellarton, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus

Shelburne, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

Port Hawkesbury, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

Sydney, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus

Truro, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Ivany Campus

Dartmouth, NS

PeopleWorx

Coldbrook, NS

CBBC Career College Inc. - Dartmouth Campus

Dartmouth, NS

Nursing/Registered Nurse (RN, ASN, BScN, MScN)

College or University Program

These programs prepare students in the knowledge, techniques and procedures for promoting health, providing care for sick, disabled, infirm, or other individuals or groups. They 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.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

St. Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS

Cape Breton University

Sydney, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Registered Nurse

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated. The job title is protected, and you may not use it without a professional licence. A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to legally do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia College of Nursing
300 - 120 Western Parkway
Bedford, NS B4B 0V2
(833) 267-6726
(902) 377-5188

Contacts

Operating Room Nurses Association of Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia, Canada
Occupational Health Nurses Association of Nova Scotia
Halifax, NS
Family Practice Nurses Association of Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia, Canada
Canadian Nurses Association
Ottawa, ON
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
Bedford, NS
Nova Scotia Nurses Union
Dartmouth, NS