You have probably already tried to understand the different types of nurses in Quebec, without, however, succeeding completely. There is a lot of confusion about the tasks and responsibilities of nurses in the province’s healthcare system, a role that is nevertheless essential! Let’s review the distinction between a registered nurse, a clinical nurse specialist, a specialized nurse practitioner and a licensed practical nurse in order to understand their everyday tasks, but also their specialties.

Registered Nurse (RN)

On a daily basis, registered nurses, abbreviated as RN, come into direct contact with patients and provide them with healthcare at every stage of life. Among their tasks are the administration of treatments, care and medication prescribed by the doctor, changing dressings and monitoring medical equipment. 

They are also responsible for checking the health status of people and then reporting any form of change so that actions can be taken. They also collaborate with the medical team during surgical procedures, for example. Registered nurses (RNs) supervise nursing assistants.

To become a registered nurse, a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing is required.

Almost all fields are open to registered nurses, from surgery and pediatrics to community, emergency, and oncology. These professionals can be found in all sectors and fields of practice. Discover the essential qualities of a nurse if this role interests you.

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Since the 1960s, clinical nurse specialists, or CNSs, have applied their knowledge in various fields of practice, whether as clinicians who assess and create specialized care plans, or as consultants to support nurses or other professionals needing healthcare information. They may also be teachers or researchers, or even leaders in their field.

The main difference with registered nurses is in the type of direct intervention and risk assessment. CNSs also typically hold a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing, which gives them in-depth skills.

The most common specializations include acute care in hospitals, but sometimes oncology, gerontology, mental health, and cardiology.                         

Specialized Nurse Practitioner (SNP – IPS)

An IPS or specialist nurse practitioner works on two front lines; she provides nursing care like her colleagues, but also medical care, since January 25, 2021.

In addition to the routine duties of a nurse, specialty nurse practitioners may dispense prescriptions to patients, make diagnoses, perform more advanced procedures and more invasive techniques.

To do this, they hold a graduate degree in nursing which gives them the right to practice in several environments such as CISSS, CIUSSS, GMF, hospital centers, CLSC, CHSLD, at home or in specialized clinics, for example.

Many of them work in Canada’s northern communities. If this is an area that interests you, check out our nursing job offers in the Far North!        

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)     

The last type of nurse in Quebec is the licensed practical nurse or LPN. Her role is very similar to that of the registered nurse (RN), but is limited by shorter studies, i.e. a technical (often college) diploma in nursing.

Woman nurse looking at a tablet in a hospitalWe count among the fundamental differences the prohibition to carry out invasive examinations or the evaluation of the condition of a patient. In addition, in the case of people at risk, a licensed practical nurse is not able to clinically monitor their condition and must call on her colleagues to adjust treatments or medication.

Under her responsibility are mainly taking samples, administering drugs, vaccination and the care of wounds. This role can be held in a variety of workplaces whether in patient care, acute or community care, home or long-term!

Now that you know the different types of nurses in Quebec and the nuances of the nursing profession, you can see the importance of interprofessional collaboration between the different specializations to ensure quality care for all. Effective communication will allow all nurses to ensure a timely recovery or a hospital stay that is as humane and comfortable as possible!

Would you like to join our team to make a difference in the different communities where we operate? Send your CV today!