Requesting student placements

Learn how to request a health science or medical student placement and opportunities for job shadowing.

Requesting a health sciences placement

How do I submit a placement request?

Educational institutions should request placements through the national web-enabled database, Health Sciences Placement Network (HSPnet). This is the preferred method of for placement application so the process is streamlined and sites/programs consider requests from one source. Students who wish to request placements at VCH are required to have a school email address.

  • We ask our partner institutions and their students not to contact our sites directly with placement requests. All requests are to be submitted through HSPnet.

  • Out-of-Province Institutions and Students: Prior to entering your request in the system, we will need to know which site(s) the student is interested in. Our VCH Locations and Services is where our students and schools can look up our sites. Once the student has found a site they wish to be considered, they can let their Placing Coordinator know and then the Coordinator can reach out to VCH Placements to request a guest access to enter the formal request into the HSPnet database.

Do I need an affiliation agreement?

We require an affiliation agreement to be in place prior to submitting a request and for a student to start a placement.

If you are an institution inquiring about a potential partnership with our health authority or you need to renew an existing affiliation agreement, please contact us at Placements@vch.caWe ask that you contact us early, at least three months before the start date, to allow enough processing time and avoid placement delays.  

Once the agreement is signed, the educational institution may proceed with entering the placement in HSPnet and ensuring the student completes all the necessary training and requirements outlined on this website. Students are to refer to the Student Practice Education Core Orientation (SPECO) checklist for the list of pre-placement requirements.

What are the deadlines for submitting a placement request?

To ensure our sites have enough time to consider placement requests and IT services can timely arrange for an account and system access, we follow a set timeline for request submission and processing for the majority of disciplines. Please note the following deadlines to enter requests into HSPnet for each term:

  • Fall Term (September-December) - January 15
  • Winter (January-April) - March 15
  • Spring/Summer (May-August) - September 30

Please note that in some cases we may be able to process an urgent HSPnet placement request submitted outside of these deadlines. Please contact VCH Placements ahead of time for more details.

Allied Health placements: please note that some Allied Health disciplines such as Clinical Counselling and Social Work use their own specific timelines for request submission. For more information, please contact a VCH Allied Health Student Practice Coordinator at

What are the requirements the student needs to complete prior to their placement at VCH?

We require students to complete a list of placement prerequisites prior to their placement. The prerequisites include:

  1. Student Practice Education Core Orientation (SPECO), and

  2. Any applicable prerequisites under Discipline-specific requirements.

Please note that this is the school’s responsibility to ensure their student completes all the necessary prerequisites. Failure to complete the requirements may result in a delay or cancellation of the placement.

NEW! We also offer the following supplementary step-by-step worksheets available for both Placing Coordinators and Students to help prepare for the upcoming practicum and ensure all VCH requirements are complete. Please note that these worksheets are for your reference only and do not need to be submitted.

Requesting a medical student placement

We do not receive medical student placement requests directly. All requests must go through the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

If you are interested in shadowing a physician, please first refer to the CPSBC website.

Requesting other opportunities

Job shadow/career observation: Vancouver Coastal Health does not offer any shadow or practicum placements to students on their own, including observations as prerequisites to school programs.  We consider requests for placements from students who are currently enrolled in a post-secondary institution where the practicum is a requirement of graduation and the students are insured by the school for 3rd party liability and personal injury insurance. 

We only consider shadow experiences for qualified health care professionals who are seeking professional development opportunities or employment. Individuals will be required to have immunizations up to date and a current criminal record check. Individuals may be responsible for having adequate insurance and completing the VCH Privacy and Confidentiality Undertaking for Student Placement is mandatory. Please email for details. ‎

If you are interested in shadowing a physician, please refer to the “Requesting a medical student placement/elective” section of this page.

Independent supervised practice experience: if you require a practicum placement at the health authority to renew your Nursing license and you are not enrolled in a post-secondary institution, please contact us at Please note that you will be required to complete all standard pre-requisites prior to starting a placement per our guidelines.

Co-op student placements: VCH Student Practice only processes requests for health sciences-related student placements arranged through HSPnet. if you require a paid Co-op placement (reimbursed by either the health authority or your institution), please connect with your co-op coordinator who will advise you on how to apply for these opportunities. ‎

Paid work opportunities for students: VCH Student Practice only processes requests for unpaid health sciences-related student placements arranged through HSPnet. If you are a Nursing student interested in paid work opportunities, please refer to the Employed Student Nurse (ESN) Program page. For other paid work opportunities, please refer to the VCH Careers website or contact VCH Recruitment directly.