July 2016

Q&A: What’s in a name?

Q: I’m an RN working in a long-term care home. As part of my role, I’m responsible for supervising unregulated care providers (UCPs). When interacting with clients, I think UCPs should call themselves nurses since most clients are unfamiliar with the terms “UCP” and “PSW” (personal support worker). Is it okay for a UCP to call themselves a nurse when providing care to residents?

A: No. UCPs are not registered with the College. Anyone calling themselves a nurse without being registered with the College is considered an illegal practitioner and can be prosecuted under the Nursing Act, 1991 and the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.

Many titles used by nurses are protected under the Nursing Act, 1991. This means that in Ontario, only members of the College can use the titles “nurse,” “Nurse Practitioner,” “Registered Nurse” and “Registered Practical Nurse.” This includes any variation or abbreviation of these titles, or equivalent titles in other languages.


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