Practicing as an RN or RPN in Ontario

Registering with CNO is a legal requirement for anyone who wishes to practice nursing in Ontario.

Only nurses registered with CNO can practice nursing in Ontario and use the titles “nurse,” “Registered Nurse (RN),” “Registered Practical Nurse (RPN),” or “Nurse Practitioner (NP).”

It is illegal for anyone to practice nursing or use any of these titles in Ontario without a valid certificate of registration issued by CNO.

Your status as an RN or RPN informs the public that all individuals who identify themselves as nurses have the knowledge, skill and judgment required to provide safe and ethical nursing care.

The majority of CNO applicants enter the General Class, the most common class of registration for nurses in Ontario.

Applicants who wish to begin nursing before completing their registration requirements for the general class also have the option of applying to the Temporary Class, provided they meet the Temporary Class registration requirements. 

RN Prescribing Practice

RNs registered in the General Class have the option of adding prescribing authority to their practice by completing prescribing education approved by CNO Council. RNs with this authority can prescribe certain medications and communicate diagnoses for the purposes of prescribing those medications. Visit RN Prescribing Practice for more information, including a list of approved programs. 




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Page last reviewed June 07, 2024