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Employed Student Nurse (ESN) Program

Applications are now closed. Please check back in December 2021 for information on the 2022/2023 intake.
We look forward to connecting with you then!

Earn while you learn! Hands-on experience with pay: Our Employed Student Nurse (ESN) program is designed to provide up to 300 hours of hands-on experience with pay. Our Unit Educators and staff will support you through your transition from student to nurse and work with you to identify a career path that works for you. These hours will help you consolidate your theory and clinical skills, build on your nursing practice and participate as a team member. In many cases, you can also apply your earned seniority towards your first RN/RPN job with us.

As an ESN you provide direct nursing care to both stable and unstable patients/residents/clients appropriate to the level of education and training you have received to date in your nursing program. Our program is unique and the ESN opportunities are different depending on the geographical location from small towns to major cities.

Thank you for your interest in the Employed Student Nursing Program at Vancouver Coastal Health. 

What are the qualifications?

To qualify for the ESN program you must: 

  • Be continually enrolled full time in a recognized registered nursing School of Nursing Program in British Columbia and be in good standing;
  • Have successfully completed 2nd Year of your BScN/RPN program (or equivalent);
  • Have successfully completed your Adult Medical-Surgical rotation or Acute Psychiatric rotation;
  • Be registered/eligible for registration with British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) as an Employed Student Registrant;
  • Certification in Basic Cardiac Life Support (Healthcare Provider CPR);
  • Meet our recruitment screening requirements

To be considered for our 2022-2023 ESN intake, your nursing program graduation date must be December 2022 or later (we cannot accept ESN students who will be in their final preceptorship concurrent to an ESN placement). Nursing students may not hold ESN positions with more than one health authority concurrently.

What does the ESN application process look like?

1. Student Nurse applies to the VCH ESN posting in December when applications open.

2. The Recruitment team reviews applications and sends next steps to the eligible Student Nurses by email.

3. The Recruitment team will review and shortlist ESN applications. We are working hard to screen all your applications!  We thank you for your patience!

4. Shortlisted Student Nurses will be notified and invited for an interview with a Hiring Manager (or delegate).

5. If the Student Nurse is successful, they are hired to start as soon as April 2022.

6. The newly hired ESN completes the registration process with BCCNM ASAP.  Please note that you must have your BCCNM active ESN status prior to your first day as an ESN, including any training or orientation. You will not be able to start without this.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This is an exciting time for you and we understand you likely have a lot of questions! We tried our best to address the most frequently asked questions in this PDF.

Employed Student Nurse Experiences


I am very proud of being in a position where I can support the ESNs with their professional development and actually see the positive impact through their confidence levels.  I am so grateful that VCH offers these experiences as it allows ESNs to explore healthcare beyond the lens of a student.  This program allows ESNs to be part of a team, contribute to patient care, practice skills and gain a better understanding of their career path.

– Bal S., Regional Clinical Educator


The role of Clinical Education is to provide orientation, support and guidance to the Employed Student Nurses that get hired every year. I feel a sense of accomplishment when an Employed Student Nurse enjoys their experience on a unit and the unit considers them a good fit for the team. The most amazing result is when an ESN gets hired to VCH!

– Lisa B., Regional Manager, Clinical Education


I was motivated to work as an employed student nurse at VCH because I knew this organization would offer a vast population of patients and a supportive learning atmosphere. I wanted to step out my comfort zone and be able to take on the responsibility of providing care and making patient care decisions. I was keen to venture into a new environment where I could improve my skills and to gain confidence as a student nurse and VCH allowed me to take on a patient workload while adapting to the adrenaline of the hospital setting and discovering new skills every day!

– Mehtab B., 2019 ESN Student


I’m proud to be able to support new nurses in gaining experience working with seniors, in hopes they will choose this as a career path. The field of geriatrics is diverse and there are so many job opportunities and the work is very rewarding. I enjoy their spirit of learning and the excitement of them starting their nursing career. My advice to future ESNs is to take advantage of this opportunity and choose a placement that aligns with your passion. Let your learning needs be known and go in with a plan of the skills you want to practice.

– Christine D., Manager, STAT Centre Inpatient Unit & Medical Day Program, Homevive Program


I accepted the ESN position at VCH after feeling an overwhelming amount of support throughout the interview process and the extensive orientation process. Over the summer, I went from being a timid student nurse lacking confidence, to an independent ESN able to adapt to different situations. I was able to practice assessments and clinical skills that allowed me to grow as a student and nurse, helping to prepare for both my preceptorship and my future career as a nurse. My advice for future ESNs is to keep an open mind, ask questions, work with different nurses, and take in every moment and experience you can – it is an exceptional learning opportunity!

– Rachel H., 2019 ESN Student


I am proud of having this opportunity to help ESNs consolidate their skills in a safe, supportive environment. They quickly become part of the team and add to the learning environment for others. I enjoy that they are able to share their knowledge with the team and bring a new perspective. I strongly suggest ESNs take the opportunity to work in an area that interests them as it gives them a chance to consolidate their learning and develop their confidence.

– Parm P., Manager, Transition Care Medical Unit, UBC


Reflecting on my ESN experience, I notice an immense amount of self-growth, both personally and professionally. With increased independence, I’ve been able to develop my critical thinking and decision-making skills. I am most proud of the care that I have been able to provide to patients, because, as an ESN, I had a lighter patient load and therefore more time to develop those bedside relationships. Due to this experience, I have found it easier to develop trust and make meaningful connections with patients during some of their most vulnerable times.

– Bobbi D., 2019 ESN Student


Being able to use the skills I learned from nursing school and getting feedback from the nurses when practicing these skills have improved my confidence as a competent student nurse. I am proud of being able to actively support, comfort, and empathize with my patients at the palliative care unit.

– Jeff C., 2019 ESN Student


Contact Us

For any inquiries about the Employed Student Nurse (ESN) Program, please e-mail: esnjobs@vch.ca

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