Graduate Practical Nurses

Graduate Practical Nurse (GPN)

A nurse is required to possess a current certificate of registration prior to commencing employment as an LPN/GPN. A current certificate of registration indicates that a nurse has met the minimum requirement(s) to deliver safe, competent and ethical care and as such, nurses may not engage in any portion of the employer’s orientation process (observation, clinical, classroom or self-study) without a current certificate of registration to practise as an LPN or GPN. Nurses and employers should be aware that third-party liability insurance coverage applies only to LPNs/GPNs with a current certificate of registration.

A graduate practical nurse is a person who;

  • Has successfully completed an approved Prince Edward Island practical nursing program (Currently, the CLPNPEI approves the practical nursing program delivered by Holland College) or a program outside of Prince Edward Island that the Council considers substantially equivalent to the program offered provincially.
  • Is covered by professional liability insurance
  • Has paid the applicable examination fee and applied to take the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE) or is awaiting the results of the CPNRE.
  • Has been issued a GPN certificate of registration

A Graduate Practical Nurse is expected to meet the entry to practice competencies as described by the CLPNPEI. A GPN is also expected to be familiar with and practice within the framework of the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA), Licensed Practical Nurse Regulations, Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. While GPNs work under the supervision of a Licensed Practical Nurse, it is understood that this supervision may not be direct, one on one supervision for every nursing function in every nursing environment. The supervising LPN must be physically available to assist the GPN with nursing duties, provide guidance, mentorship and support as necessary. As the GPN becomes more confident and comfortable in his or her new role, it is understood that the GPN’s level of autonomy will also increase.

It is the GPN’s responsibility to understand that;

  • some practice areas may not be acceptable for employment, as supervision would not be available
  • some employment settings will have policies in place that restrict GPNs from performing some nursing duties, and
  • they must not assume a charge role in their employment setting, unless in collaboration and co-assigned with appropriate mentor.


A GPN must be supervised in practicing practical nursing by a licensed practical nurse registered and in good standing with the CLPNPEI.
Practical nursing is defined as the application of particular knowledge and skills and judgment in providing practical nursing services to another person, including;

(a) assessing the person,
(b) collaborating in the development of a nursing plan of care,
(c) implementing a nursing plan of care
(d) evaluating the person on an ongoing basis for purposes including promoting health, preventing illness or providing palliative or rehabilitative care

A GPN is authorized to perform the reserved activities as outlined in section 18 of the Regulated Health Professions Act Licensed Practical Nurse Regulations:

(1)(a) performing a procedure on tissue below the dermis or below the surface of a mucous membrane;
(b) administering a substance by injection, inhalation, mechanical ventilation, irrigation, transfusion or enteral or parenteral instillation;
(b.1) administering a drug or vaccine by any means;
(c) putting an instrument, hand or finger
             (i) beyond the external ear canal,
            (ii) beyond the point in the nasal passages where they normally narrow,
           (iii) beyond the pharynx or larynx,

           (iv) beyond the opening of the urethra,
           (v) beyond the labia majora,
           (vi) beyond the anal verge, or
          (vii) into an artificial opening into the body.

(d) applying sound energy or electrical energy, other than ionizing radiation;(e) applying electrical energy in the form of ionizing radiation to conduct an X-ray for the purpose of dental screening, diagnosis, or treatment.


(2) A graduate practical nurse shall not perform a reserved activity referred to in subsection (1) unless it is performed pursuant to

(a) an order made by
            (i) a person authorized to practice as a medical practitioner or a nurse practitioner under the laws of this province or another province or territory in Canada; or
          (ii) a person authorized to practice as a dentist or registered nurse under the laws of this province or

(b) a Health PEI protocol

Administering a vaccine

(3). Notwithstanding subsection (2), a licensed practical nurse is authorized to administer by any means a vaccine prescribed by a person authorized to practise as a pharmacist under the laws of this province.

GPNs may administer all prescribed medication within the Scope of Practice and organization policies provided they are competent (possess the necessary knowledge, skill and judgment).


The graduate practical nurse may use the following designations;

  • graduate practical nurse
  • G.P.N
  • GPN

Duration and Expiration

The GPN certificate of registration is short term, will not exceed one year. Once expired, a GPN certificate of registration may not be renewed. A GPN must obtain the established pass mark on the CPNRE in not more than four attempts.
Upon successful completion, the GPN is eligible for a certificate of registration in the general registry for LPNs.

Requirement for Employment

A current CLPNPEI LPN/GPN certificate of registration is required to practice practical nursing in all employment settings. Employers and nurses share the accountability to ensure all employees hold a current LPN/GPN certificate of registration before the commencement of employment. Includes employer orientation EVEN if client care is not expected.

To Apply for a Certificate of Registration on the Graduate Practical Nurse Register, the applicant must:

  1. Successfully complete an approved practical nursing education program in Prince Edward Island.
  2. Apply to write the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE). 
  3. Provide proof of identity and legal name.
  4. Complete the required online application on the Member Portal
  5. Proof of entitlement to work in Canada.
  6. Complete the Jurisprudence Learning Module and Exam. For further information, please see the Jurisprudence page .
  7. Submit a Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Check. These documents must have been received within the six (6) months from the date of issue.
  8. Demonstrate reasonable proficiency in written and spoken English. For further information please see Reasonable Proficiency in English Policy
  9. Pay the required fees.

All persons entering the profession must understand and uphold the professional and legal obligations of being a practical nurse in Prince Edward Island. The transition period from GPN to LPN allows a graduate practical nurse time to build upon their foundational knowledge and skills, as well as build confidence while receiving support from all members of the professional team.

GPN Practice Directive

GPN Practice Memo for Employers

Please contact the CLPNPEI for further information.