ESN celebration

The Employed Student Nurse (ESN)/Employed Student Psychiatric Nurse (ESPN) program at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is a unique employment opportunity for nursing and psychiatric nursing students. These supernumerary positions provide ESNs/ESPNs 400 hours of paid experience to learn in a real-life healthcare environment.

Our program has a dedicated Clinical Education Team that supports and mentors you through your transition from student to nurse and can help guide your nursing career path. The ESN/ESPN opportunities differ depending on the geographical location from small rural towns to major cities.

Apply for ESN   Apply for ESPN

    The ESN/ESPN program promotes:​

    • Consolidation of new nursing knowledge and skills in a safe learning environment
    • Realistic employment opportunities through active involvement with the healthcare team
    • Flexibility to schedule your shifts around school and personal life commitments
    • Apply your earned seniority towards your first job with us!
    • ‘Job readiness’ and the consideration of employment on the unit or within VCH upon graduation​

    To qualify for the ESN/ESPN program, you must: 

    • Maintain enrollment in a recognized B.C. registered nursing or psychiatric nursing education program
    • Have successfully completed 2nd Year of your BScN/RPN program (or equivalent);
    • Have successfully completed your Adult Medical-Surgical rotation (ESN) or Acute Psychiatric rotation (ESPN);
    • Be registered/eligible for registration with the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) as an Employed Student Registrant; and maintain current registration with BCCNM
    • Have certification in Basic Cardiac Life Support-Level C Health Care Provider
    • Meet our recruitment screening requirements

    To be considered for our 2024/2025 ESN intake, your nursing program graduation date must be December 2024 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.

    ESN Application Process

    1. Apply to the VCH ESN/ESPN posting and complete the application form (see Tips in FAQs).
    2. The Talent Acquisition team will review and shortlist ESN applications. We are working hard to screen all your applications. We thank you for your patience!
    3. Shortlisted Student Nurses will be notified and invited for an interview with a Hiring Manager/delegate (see Tips in FAQs).
    4. If the Student Nurse is successful, they are hired to start as soon as April 2024 for the 2024/2025 cohort.
    5. *PRIOR TO APPLYING* 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.
    6. The newly hired ESN will complete Form 10.1 (link below) ASAP. Click here for the steps to fill out Form 10.1.

    Form 10.1 – ESN/ESPN Confirmation of Enrolment and Employment (

    Frequently Asked Questions

    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.

    For questions and inquiries, please email

    Employed Student Nurse Experiences
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    Katelyn W., 2022 ESN Endoscopy LGH

    “I had an incredible experience working as an ESN at Lions Gate Endoscopy. Working on a specialized unit as a student was a big step out of my comfort zone, as I always thought I needed to have years of med-surg experience before being able to do this, but I have gained so much confidence in my ability to practice patient-centered care and work within an interprofessional team, all of which has made me feel much more prepared going into preceptorship."

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    William C., 2022 ESN BTHA, VGH

    “My ESN experiences in Vascular/General Surgery (2021-2022) and Burns and Trauma High Acuity (BTHA) unit (2022-2023) both greatly enhanced my professional nursing practice. The support from the staff and clinical educators in helping me learn about complex conditions and healthcare technologies I have not seen before was super exciting. I wanted to be an ESN to gain further clinical experience and strengthen my critical thinking, clinical judgment and become a prudent nurse. And I believe the BTHA ESN experience surpassed these learning goals.”

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    Jaime W., Regional Manager, ESN Program

    “The VCH Employed Student Nurse Program is dedicated to providing a meaningful practice experience to our future nursing professionals! Our team of educators provides clinical support and mentorship to promote a strong connection to peers and the organization and enable ESN/ESPNs to consolidate skills in a safe environment."

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    Nicole N,. Regional Clinical Educator, ESN Program

    “I am proud and honored to share my knowledge and experience with ESNs, to support and mentor them in a safe learning environment and to watch them grow professionally and become more confident in their practice. My recommendation for any ESN is to take advantage of all the opportunities, resources and support offered and to get the experience to work in an area that they are passionate about.”

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    – Catherine M., Interim Clinical Nurse Educator, BTHA

    “ESNs bring a fun new energy to the specialty area of Burns, Trauma and High Acuity (BTHA), allowing them to learn what specialty nursing really is. They can interact with a broader and more acute patient population and advance their critical thinking and skills. Our staff enjoy having them on the unit and using their mentorship and teaching skills to help them learn in this fast-paced environment”

    How to apply

    External applicant

    Internal applicant

    Out-of-province or international applicant