Student practice education

Northern Health is committed to supporting students in their academic and professional journeys. In partnership with our education partners, our goal is to provide learning opportunities across the region for students and practitioners from a variety of health care disciplines.

Student placements

Student placements provide hands-on experience in a wide variety of health care and specialty settings, as well as an opportunity for students to consolidate skills, grow confidence, and build knowledge to practice effectively in their field.

In collaboration with our education partners, we work to connect students to learning opportunities in a wide variety of health care areas and communities across the region.

Northern Health follows the BC Student Practice Education Guidelines and considers placement requests in priority from local, provincial, national, and international public and private educational institutions, other agencies, and non-affiliated individuals. All requests for student placements must be submitted through HSPnet. Please do not contact our facilities or staff directly to request student placement opportunities.

An affiliation agreement is required between the health authority and the educational institution associated with the learning in order to accept placement requests.

For more information please contact our team at or review our Student Placement Process with HSPnet.

Student placement prerequisites

Student Practice Education Core Orientation (SPECO)

All students are required to complete the Student Practice Education Core Orientation or SPECO (curriculum) on the LearningHub. If you don't have an account on LearningHub you'll need to create one to access the SPECO orientation.

For more information on provincial student placement requirements, please visit orientation and preparation.

Electronic systems

To support greater integration into the working role, access to electronic systems will be provided for students while engaged in a student practice experience. In partnership with our educational institutions, we will coordinate system and technology access to support a more integrated student placement experience.

Confidentiality agreement

All students must sign a Confidentiality Agreement that will be stored by their educational institution. Proof of signed form may be requested by their placement unit or facility.


All students must adhere to the BC Practice Education Guidelines on Immunizations in order to engage in student placements. Students should contact their school to determine the best way to provide documentation related to their immunization status.

Fit testing

Fit testing is the responsibility of educational institutions.


The requirement of CPR training is dependent on the student’s program of study and their educational institution’s requirements.


Employed Student Nurse Program (ESN)

The Employed Student Nurse Program (ESN) is an opportunity for future nurses finishing their second or third year (or equivalent) of a BScN or RPN program to develop into the role of a professional nurse.

Program opportunities

  • Gain experience in new communities and areas of health care
  • Engage in summer or year round employment
  • Develop interdisciplinary teamwork and communication skills
  • Consolidate previously learned competencies and apply them to practice
  • Gain experience, confidence, and knowledge of the nursing role in practice

Employed Student Nurse positions are posted annually in October. Please visit the Northern Health Jobsite to view current postings and submit your application.

Criteria for employment

  • Active registration in a recognized nursing education program
  • Good standing in year 2 or 3 (or equivalent) of a BScN or RPN program
  • Ability to obtain Employed Student Registration with BCCNM once hired
  • Able to provide proof of Certification in Basic Cardiac Life Support

Items to be submitted with your online application include:

  1. Cover letter
  2. Resume
  3. Pre-screen form (see below)
  4. Reference form (see below) to be submitted by referee

If you have any questions, please email


If your browser doesn't display the fillable PDF correctly, or some functions do not work please save the PDF to your desktop and open it in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

While studying in a Registered or Practical Nursing program, you may qualify for registration as a Health Care Aide.

  • Practical Nursing students -following successful completion of terms 1 and 2
  • Registered Nursing students - variable depending on institution

See the BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry for more information, and the Northern Health Jobsite for current opportunities with Northern Health.


"Being an ESN is one of the most valuable experiences we get as students. It gives us a chance to not only learn and experience more than we would in our clinical rotations, but it provides us with the opportunity to take control of our learning by choosing areas of interest to further develop our knowledge and skills. I feel much more prepared to enter the workforce because of the extra experience I gained as an ESN."

"The ESN program is very helpful to prepare (you) for what nursing is, and (how to) start learning to problem solve on your own. The program also helps you to identify what your strengths and weaknesses are and the areas in need of improvement."


New Graduate Transition Program (NGTP)

Northern Health supports new graduate health care professionals with their transition to practice through our New Graduate Transition Program (NGTP). This program provides workshops, support, and funding for professional development and supernumerary shifts intended to ease transition and support newly graduated health care professionals in their first eighteen months of employment.

The goals of the New Graduate Transition Program

  • To create relationships with new health care professionals and support career growth and growth within NH
  • To provide resources, support, and guidance to new graduates and interdisciplinary teams supporting new graduate transition to practice
  • To support new graduates and interdisciplinary teams in opportunities for mutual learning and development
  • To provide funding for new graduates for professional development education, supernumerary shifts, extended orientation, and training
  • To provide a program based on continuous quality improvement through yearly program evaluation and revisions as required

The program is open to nursing and allied health care professionals who are within eighteen months post graduation and are newly hired into regular, temporary and casual positions.

For more information, please contact


New graduate nurse employment opportunities

Northern Health offers comprehensive new graduate supports and dedicated funding to help with transition to practice education and mentorship. Newly graduated Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), Registered Nurses (RN), Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPN), or students in their final year of study, can apply for career opportunities through New Graduate LPN/RN/RPN postings on the Northern Health Jobsite.

Apply at NH jobsite here

New Graduate LPN, RN and RPN applications are accepted year-round and application dates are included within the postings.

Criteria for employment

Items to be submitted with your online application include

  1. How to apply (PDF)
  2. Cover letter
  3. Resume
  4. Resume tips and tricks (PDF)

If your browser doesn't display the fillable PDF correctly, or some functions do not work please save the PDF to your desktop and open it in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

If you have any questions, please email


Health Career Access Program (HCAP)

Get paid to train to become a health care assistant!

Health care assistants are a valuable member of the health care team. They provide for the physical, mental and social well being of clients of each day. Health Care Assistants provide personal care in a variety of health care settings including hospitals, assisted living and long-term care facilities, group homes, and community care programs.

The program consists of employment, education, and training. Candidates attend the school portion of the program for 10 months before beginning their 12 months return of service.


Successful applicants must meet both Northern Health’s job requirements and the admission requirements of the college they’ll attend. Which college you attend depends on where you live.

Goals of the HCAP program

  • Make it easier for people to start a health care career
  • Increase the number of health care assistants in health care facilities across Northern Health
  • Support our COVID-19 response at long-term care and assisted living facilities, by providing more staff

What is a Health Care Assistant?

Health care assistants provide personal care in a variety of health care settings including acute care hospitals, assisted living facilities, group homes, long-term care facilities, and community care.

They are supervised by registered nurses or other regulated health care professionals and follow established care plans to provide personal care such as bathing, grooming, dressing, assisting with meals, and oral hygiene.

Other duties include:

  • Helping in the delivery of nursing care, including taking temperature, pulse and respiration readings
  • Documenting information on a patient chart
  • Responding to call bells/alarms in hospital settings
  • Observing and monitoring patient progress, symptoms and behavioural changes
  • Using mechanical aids (specialty beds, lifts, wheelchairs and stretchers) to transport patients
  • Maintaining a clean and safe environment for patients and staff

For 2024, graduated health care assistants annually can earn up to $58,073.

What is a Health Care Support Worker?

Health care support workers provide a variety of important non-clinical, non-direct care supports to patients. They are supervised by registered nurses or other regulated health care professionals.

Typical duties include:

  • Establishing a caring relationship with residents and their families
  • Providing support and assistance with recreational activities
  • Assisting and directing visitors
  • Restocking supplies
  • Performing housekeeping tasks
  • Providing support and assistance at mealtimes

Your HCAP timeline

  1. Apply to Northern Health to become a health care support worker
  2. Apply to a health care assistant program at a college in or near your community
  3. While working as a health care support worker, finish your college studies
  4. Apply to Northern Health to become an health care assistant

Return to Service Agreement/Obligation to work as a Health Care Assistant

Before starting the program, all applicants must sign a return to service agreement.

By signing, they agree that after finishing the program, they must apply for and accept any regular health care assistant vacancies available with the employer at the primary worksite where they completed the program.

If you are unsuccessful in completing the program, you will be returned to your pre-program position/status. For example, if you’re currently working for Northern Health in a different position, you would go back to that position.

More information on the return to service agreement will be provided to short-listed candidates.

How to apply

Apply to a Health Care Support Worker position at Northern Health’s external employment page. Look under the job category "Support services".

If no external postings are currently up, you can still apply! Please complete the Participant Expression of Interest form.

What should you expect in the Health Career Access Program?

  • Candidates attend school full-time before beginning the working component of the program.
  • You will have a number of assignments and deadlines in the Health Care Assistant Certificate program.
  • You must sign a waiver so that Northern Health and the college you attend can access your academic information to provide support in case you start struggling in the program.
  • To complete your assignments, you’ll need a computer or laptop and access to the internet. Some schools do offer laptop rentals.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


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