Psychiatric Nurses's separate professional association

Registered Psychiatric Nurses, RPNs, developed as a quite separate nursing profession in Alberta. The practice of  psychiatric nursing,  which was developed in the first half of the twentieth century, played a significant part in contemporary  understanding of mental illness.

 The Provincial Hospital for the Insane was opened at Ponoka on July 4, 1911. The 1921  report by the  National  Committee for Mental Hygiene, noted that "...while nurses are  faithful in their conduct  of duties, there is urgent need for the establishment of a training school". In 1931, Dr. Charles Barrager, the Medical  Superintendent who had  previously worked at  Brandon, Manitoba, opened the training school  at Ponoka. In 1948, a class of 18 psychiatric nurses graduated  from the three-year course at the Provincial Mental  Institution at Oliver. The male graduates  were known as Certified Attendants; the female graduates as Graduate Mental Nurses.

Psychiatric nurses held an important meeting on April 11, 1950, at Ponoka, with representatives from the Alberta  Institute Oliver.   Ted James was elected as the first President of the Alberta Psychiatric  Nurses Association and, on May 1,  1950, the  APNA was officially registered under the  Societies Act. The Psychiatric Nursing  Training Act was  passed in 1955 and, in 1963; the Psychiatric Nurses' Act of Alberta came into being. In that same  year, the name of the  Association was changed to the Psychiatric Nurses Association of Alberta (PNAA).   In 2005, with the new Health Professions Act the professional association also took on a new name the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta (CRPNA).    (Information from the CRPNA).