Placement FAQs

Q: Can I switch my clinical placement?

Once a placement has been assigned, clinical placements cannot be switched.

Students are responsible for reporting any professional conflicts of interest or special considerations prior to the placement assignment process. Clinical placements are reviewed by faculty and student’s individual learning needs are taken into consideration. Every effort is made to ensure that placements are assigned in a fair and equitable way. 

Q: What is a Professional Conflict of Interest?

“A professional conflict of interest includes previous and/or current work or employment, family or friends in the agencies, and their existing or past professional relationships that could in any way influence your clinical experience.”

Please speak to your course leader if you have any questions about potential conflicts at ANY clinical site.

Q: What is Clinical Practice Education aka Clinical Practice?

“Practice Education” (used interchangeably with “Clinical Practice”) is defined as learning at any clinical sites secured and deemed appropriate by the SoN, experiential learning in the laboratory, and simulation context. ***Please familiarize yourself with the UBC SoN Clinical Practice Policy***

Q: What orientation training is required for clinical placements?

Placement practice partners require students and faculty to meet prerequisites for practice education experiences based on the B.C.'s Provincial Education Guidelines. 

In order to meet these prerequisites, students are required to review the Online Student and School Instructor Health Authority Orientation Checklist to ensure that they have completed all requirements.

Students may also be required to complete site-specific requirements such as submitting health authority confidentiality forms and participating in Patient Clinical Information System training sessions

Information related to your requirements and orientation will be made available prior to the start of each placement.

Q: Do I get to choose my clinical placement site?

Decisions related to clinical placement assignments are ultimately the responsibility of the course leader and based on learning needs/goals, educational requirements and placement availability. Please contact your course leader if you have issues or concerns. 

BSN Program - For select courses, you will presented the opportunity to rank your preferences from a list of available placement sites using HSPnet Site Selector. Once you have indicated your preferences, the HSPnet system will run an algorithm to determine the best match. The allocated assignments are then reviewed by course leaders. Students will be informed of their assignments and practice education requirements by the course leader in a timely manner. There is no guarantee we will be able to place you according to your preferences but every effort will be made to ensure that placements are distributed fairly and equitably. Students in clinical placement courses will be provided an orientation to the HSPnet system and instructions on how to participate in the Site Selector process.

Nurse Practitioner Program - Placements are assigned by the course lead based on student learning needs, clinical placement availability and other considerations.  The program works closely with other NP programs in BC to ensure equity for placement experiences.  Student's are welcomed to share with their course leader an area of interest but there is no opportunity to select a site.  Any potential outreach is vetted through placement coordinator and faculty as to appropriateness.

MSN Program (NURS 577) - Please review the information on the Practicum Opportunities page.


Q: How I can create HSPnet user ID?

You will be sent the Quick Reference Guide -Student Access to HSPnet document at the beginning of your program and instructions on how to use the HSPnet system. 

Q: Who do I go to if I have concerns about my placement?

Your course (or practice lead if available) leader is your primary contact for any placement concerns. Every effort is made to ensure placements are assigned in a fair and equitable way. We work to ensure that students are exposed to a diverse range of clinical environments and quality learning experiences. At times, this may involve students being placed in areas that require longer commutes, various shift work schedule configurations (evenings or weekends; 8-hour or 12-hour shifts) and select out of town placements in the final preceptorship course. We would anticipate students in the program make the necessary arrangements to meet the requirements of the program within reason. 

Your conversation with faculty may involve investigating the issues with you, providing further information about the nursing student experience and discussing what is required to support you in your nursing goals.

Q: What CPR Level Course am I required to take for the BSN Program and where can I take it?

You are required to have completed a CPR-HCP(Health Care Provider) or BLS (Basic Life Support) Level course before you begin your clinical practice experience. CPR-HCP certification is to be renewed annually.

You can take the course through a number of facilities (e.g., adult education at your local School Board, local colleges, St. John’s Ambulance, etc.).

Suggested Location Options:

Vancouver First Aid

Canadian Red Cross

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

St. John Ambulance

Link 2 Life

Iridia Medical

The above companies are recommended but is not at all an inclusive list. Please feel free to enrol in a re-certification CPR-HCP/BLS course you in your own community.

Q: What immunizations will I be required to get for the BSN Program?

An immunization review by UBC Student Health Services must be completed before you enter your first clinical practical experience. The following immunizations must be reviewed/updated: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Pertussis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chicken Pox, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis Screening as well as any health authority mandated seasonal vaccinations.

For more information, please contact Student Health Services who will be happy to advise and update you on any immunization requirements.

Please Note, an incomplete immunization status may prevent a student from attending clinical settings, and may have an impact on their progress in the program. 

Q: What is the N95 Particulate Respirator Mask and where can I go to get one?

As a requirement for practice, each student must be fitted with an N95 respirator prior to the start of practicum, by a certified provider.

A respirator is a mask worn over one’s nose and mouth to keep airborne contaminants out of the wearer’s respiratory system and provides a safe air supply while wearing it. The N95 respirator is a specially fitted mask required for use in the care of patients with Airborne infection control precautions.

An “N-95” mask means it is Not resistant to Oil is at least 95% efficient at removing particles 0.3 micrometers in diameter from the air while being used in the course of care and with proper fit and use. Fit testing certification for an N95 mask is to be renewed annually by an approved provider.

Some Suggested N95 Fit Testing Locations include:

2378 Alberta Street Vancouver, BC
Ph: (604) 428-1870
Please click on link below to sign up for a session.
Sign up for N95 Mask Fit Testing

EMTEC Environmental Consulting Ltd.,
#121-8680 Cambie Road, Richmond, B.C.
Ph: 604-232-3365
Sign up for N95 Mask Fit Testing

Vancouver First Aid
Phone: +1 778-709-9180
Training Location: 1773 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC V5N 3Z8
Sign up for N95 Mask Fit Testing

NB: This list is not exhaustive, as new suppliers and brands may be updated from time to time.

The above companies are recommended but is not an all an exclusive list. Outside the lower mainland you may find N95 Fit testing services for health facilities in your own community. The service you need is N95 respirator fit testing services conducted in accordance with the CSA Standard CAN/CSA-Z94.4.02. The masks generally supplied in the relevant clinical placements in the BC Health Authorities include: 3M Aura 1870+ (3M 1870 to be phased out by 2016), 3M 1860, 3M 1860S, Kimberly Clark Regular, Kimberly Clark Small.

Furthermore, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is a US agency that approves respirators. According to WorkSafeBC, NIOSH-approved masks are also approved for use in the Canadian healthcare setting, as they meet the similar safety standards.

Q: What are the Term Dates for the BSN Program?

BSN Program Dates for Academic Year 2020 – 2021

2020 Cohort

Year 3

Term 1 – 2020 Winter/1

​Classes Start: September 8, 2020
Classes End: December 3, 2020
Exam Period: December 7 - 22, 2020

Term 2 – 2020 Winter/2*

Classes Start: January 4, 2021
Mid-Term Break: February 16 - 21, 2021
Classes End: April 8, 2021
Exam Period: April 12 - 23, 2021

Term 3 – 2020 Summer *

Classes Start: April 26, 2021
Classes End: TBA
Exam Period: TBA

Year 4

Term 4 - 2021 Winter/1 

​Classes Start: September 7, 2021
Classes End: December 3, 2021
Exam Period: December 7 - 22, 2021

Term 5 - 2021 Winter/2 *

Classes Start: January 4, 2022
Classes End: April 30, 2022


*Please note that the BSN program Term 3 Summer Session & Terms 2 & 5  WInter/2 Sessions do not follow the University's term and formal examination period schedule
​ Note: The 2021/22 term dates or beyond have not been confirmed by Senate. Term dates listed are subject to change. 

BSN Program Dates for Academic Year 2019 – 2020

2019 Cohort

Year 3

Term 1 – 2019 Winter/1

  • ​Classes Start: September 3, 2019
  • Classes End: November 29, 2019
  • Exam Period: December 2 - 17, 2019

Term 2 – 2019 Winter/2*

  • Classes Start: January 6, 2020
  • Mid-Term Break: February 18 - 21, 2020
  • Classes End: April 8, 2020
  • Exam Period: April 14 - 24, 2020

Term 3 – 2020 Summer *

Classes Start: April 27, 2020
Classes End: July 24, 2020
Exam Period: July 28 - 31, 2020

Year 4

Term 4 - 2020 Winter/1 

  • ​Classes Start: September 8, 2020
  • Classes End: December 3, 2020
  • Exam Period: December 7 - 22, 2020

Term 5 - 2020 Winter/2 *

  • Classes Start: January 4, 2021
  • Classes End: April 30, 2021


*Please note that the BSN program Term 3 Summer Session & Terms 2 & 5  WInter/2 Sessions do not follow the University's term and formal examination period schedule
​ Note: The 2021/22 term dates or beyond have not been confirmed by Senate. Term dates listed are subject to change. 

UBC Vancouver Academic Calendar 2020/21

Q: How Do I Submit A Request for Missed Clinical Time for Professional Development?

Please review the following document to determine if you are eligible to request missed clinical time for professional development.  

Application for Missed Clinical Time for Professional Development

Q: What do I do if I’m experiencing Academic or Clinical Progression Challenges?

Please familiarize yourself with the following reference documents:

It’s important to also be aware of the following posts/policy reference:

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to discuss these policies and regulations, your first point of contact for receiving academic advising is the BSN Student Advisor. Please visit the “Who’s Who” page of the BSN FAQ Blog to find out the Faculty member currently in this role.

Q: Who do I contact when I need help?

To find out where you can access help for questions related to courses, the BSN Program, Student Services (both UBC & School of Nursing), and any other questions you may have please review the Lines of Communication Flow Chart.

Q: What are the steps for Conflict/Issues Resolution?

In the event of a conflict or issue at the School of Nursing, we suggest you follow these guidelines:

  1. Identify the issue and start keeping objective notes for yourself.
  2. Approach the person most directly involved with clear, non-judgmental feedback and request for a discussion of your concerns.
  3. If appropriate, involve your program's Student Advisor early in the process for support and help with accessing required resources.
  4. If not satisfied with the outcome, go to the next appropriate individual and inform the person you initially consulted that you are doing so.
  5. If no resolution occurs at this level, take you concerns to the Associate Director and inform the individuals involved that you will be doing so.
  6. If still not satisfied with the resulting decisions, contact the Director of the School of Nursing and inform the individuals involved that you will be doing so.

Please familiarize yourself with the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP) Resolving Professional Practice Problems resource for more information.

Q: What do I do if I encounter negative behavior or bullying in clinical practice settings or instruction-related issues?

The Practice Education Guidelines for BC has clear guidelines around Negative Behaviour in the Practice Setting. If a student experiences any form of negative behaviour with a Health Care Organization (HCO) staff member, patient or other student, they should:

  • Not ignore it or assume it will go away by itself.
  • Tell the person that the behaviour is unwelcome and request that the behaviour(s) stop, if the student feels safe to do so.
  • Immediately report the situation to the Post Secondary Institution (PSI) Educator or Health Care Organization Educator.
  • Keep a record of all relevant facts including the date, time, and location of the incident(s). If possible, obtain the names of any witnesses.
  • If a request to stop does not resolve the matter or if the student is not able to address the problem with the individual concerned, the student should bring the complaint to the supervising PSI Educator or HCO Educator for immediate investigation and follow-up.
  • If the student feels unsafe in the practice environment, they should immediately inform the HCO Educator and/or HCO Unit Manager and leave the environment. In this situation, the student must immediately inform the PSI Educator or Liaison.

All of the clinical instructors are professional nurses and work within the BCCNP Professional Standards and take student concerns seriously.

In case where you feel that practice related issues have not been resolved, or cannot be addressed directly, refer to practice leader (in the larger clinical courses) or course leader (in the smaller clinical courses).

Q: How do I search for ESN jobs in Health Authorities?

An Employed Student Nurse (ESN) is a paid employment experience that allows students to consolidate the knowledge and skills learned in school while gaining increased exposure to the clinical setting. Although the focus is on consolidation, as an ESN you will also learn through hands on experience.

Please note that UBC School of Nursing has very specific policies on working as an ESN. Please review this policy carefully prior to beginning your search.  Once you are ready to apply, please review this FAQ

Each Health Authority recruits their own applicants for ESN Positions. You can learn more visititing:

Q: What if I fail a clinical component of a course?

If clinical faculty observe that a student’s clinical performance is not meeting professional practice requirements, and/or course outcomes, the student is immediately informed by the clinical instructor that their performance is not meeting the standard and an additional learning plan will be initiated to address the exigency.

As needed, students are referred to the Clinical Skills & Simulation Lab for additional practice. The Course Leader is consulted and the student receives a written statement regarding this status, rationale, and plans for remedial action. As appropriate, a written exigency learning plan  that sets out clear expectations for student performance within a timeframe is developed by student and faculty.

If a student receives a Fail grade in the clinical practice component the student is not permitted to write the final course exam resulting in course failure.

In the case of an academic or clinical failure, both the practice and the theory component of the course must be repeated in order to advance in the nursing program.

The Academic Advisor oversees each student’s subsequent progress and advises on academic options in regular consultation with the school`s progression committee. Subsequent planning and decision-making for students who have encountered progression challenges are overseen by the academic advisor.

For more information, please review the Progression & Advancement Policy and Flowchart

Q: What is Clinical Practice and Simulation Lab?

The Clinical Practice and Simulation Lab (CSL) supports teaching and acquisition of required skills and competencies for professional nursing practice. The CSL provides resources and materials for students’ interactive and self-regulated learning. It is a risk free and well supported environment removed from the highly complex and dynamic clinical setting, where students come to learn and practice a range of nursing skills and procedures from physical assessment to wound dressing. Practice lab activities are designed to foster the students’ application of critical thinking and integration of knowledge along with the psychomotor practice of skills.

Located in the School of Nursing, the CSL is comprised of a 20-bed simulated clinical environment with the capacity to be set up in different configurations to support a variety of contexts and specific skills, and which has a number of sophisticated mannequins, models and simulators.


Q: What do I do in case of Emergency at the School of Nursing?

There is a list of emergency phone numbers and instructions located in each room.

SoN is located on the third floor of the acute care hospital (Koerner Pavilion). In case of fire or other emergency all hospital fire and safety protocols must be observed. Please familiarize yourself with the information provided in the safety folder. Overhead speakers located in the hallways will announce and provide information during emergencies.

In case of fire (Code Red) locate the appropriate exits closest to you. Remain in the area and continue normal activities until instructed otherwise or the evacuation alarm is sounded. Ensure the door to the room is closed and that the lab personnel or lab instructor is aware of your presence.

If needing to evacuate (e.g. fire alarm rings continuously at 120 strokes per minute) immediately evacuate to the closest safe stairway exit and leave the building. Regroup in the parking lot outside the MacDonald Building (Dentistry). Classes should stay in a group with a faculty member and wait for further instructions.

Q: Is there a dress code?

You will be working in a variety of clinical practice settings, and every student must wear the UBC School of Nursing approved uniform. Students can obtain the UBC SoN approved uniforms from our supplier Uniform Central. It is suggested to purchase at least two sets of scrubs.

Contact: about obtaining uniforms.

Please also see the UBC School of Nursing Policy: Dress Code and Requirements for Professional Appearance.

Q: What is expected from students in terms of Professional Conduct?

Professional conduct is required of all students in the School of Nursing.  Students are in a program that ensures that graduates can meet the BCCNP Professional Standards for Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners and maintain the practice competencies required to be eligible for professional licensure as Registered Nurses in the province of British Columbia. As future members of a profession, current students are required to act professionally.

Q: What do I do if I am unable to attend a clinical placement due to illness/emergency?

The UBC School of Nursing BSN Curriculum specifies the number of clinical hours a student must complete to be successful. As a BCCNP approved program we have a professional responsibility to certify that students have met these clinical hours at graduation. (See Policy on Missed Clinical Time)

If you are unable to attend a clinical placement due to illness or emergency, you are required to notify the instructor and Course/Practice Leader by leaving a telephone or e-mail message before or on the day of the scheduled lab or clinical practice experience. A student who is absent must provide a letter of explanation, a medical certificate (if applicable) or other supporting evidence for the absence.

Note: Clinical absenteeism will be tracked while enrolled in the nursing program and follow-up activities may be required to make up for missed clinical time. The Progressions Committee will be alerted if there are concerns about patterns of absenteeism. 

Q: How is my clinical performance evaluated?

Course faculty and clinical instructors provide feedback to students on an ongoing basis and students are expected to identify their own needs and to be self-directed in seeking help and/or additional experiences if needed. Students are encouraged to discuss their learning needs with each instructor throughout each course and as they progress from one course to the next using Practice ePortfolio. Being proactive about learning needs is important in all courses, but it is especially important in clinical practice education courses.

Q: As an RN already working within a Health Authority, do I need to complete SPECO and Health Authority orientation expectations?

Please refer to this Health Authority resource document: Student Practice Education Orientation Content and Requirements.