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Placement Opportunities

At BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, we are committed to providing meaningful and quality placements for students in British Columbia and supporting them in their career development.

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At BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, we know the importance of providing meaningful, hands-on experience for students. We partner with educational institutions to offer placement opportunities, residencies and periodic fellowship opportunities for college and university students. These experiences enable students to learn key lessons, share new ideas and perspectives, and increase their confidence.

Placement opportunities offer students a chance to do the following:

  • Connect with multidisciplinary staff, volunteers and community partners
  • Apply theory and classroom learning in their practice
  • Expand their awareness, knowledge and understanding of mental health and substance use
  • Reflect on their own skills and abilities

Hear from students who have learned with us

Exterior of Forensic Psychiatric Hospital with blossom trees UBC nursing students call Forensic Psychiatric Hospital "a great environment to learn"

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For Students

All placement opportunities with BCMHSUS will be coordinated through your learning institution. This includes students from B.C. and Canada. Please contact your placement coordinator directly. They will act as the liaison between you and the program or service at which you hope to do your placement.

For more information on student opportunities or for international students, please visit PHSA Student Practice Education.

Employed Student Nurse Program

Our Employed Student Nurse (ESN) program provides a nursing employment opportunity to work in a clinical setting from 250 to 400 hours of hands-on experience with pay. 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 toward your first job with us.

Employed Student Nurses are welcome to apply in the following locations:
  • Correctional Health Services:
    • Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre (VIRCC) — Victoria
    • Alouette Correctional Centre for Women (ACCW) — Maple Ridge
    • Fraser Regional Correctional Centre (FRCC) — Maple Ridge
    • Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre (KRCC)
    • Okanagan Correctional Centre (OCC) NFPRC
    • Surrey Pretrial Services Centre (SPSC)
    • Nanaimo Correctional Centre (NCC)
    • Prince George Regional Correctional Centre (PGRCC)
    • Community Transition teams
  • Forensic Psychiatric Hospital — Coquitlam
  • Provincial Assessment Center — Coquitlam
  • Red Fish Healing Centre — Coquitlam
  • Heartwood Centre for Women (Requires incumbent be female) — Vancouver
PHSA is hosting a Virtual Info Session for nursing students interested in joining the Employed Student Nurse (ESN) Program.

Date: October 12, 2023
Time: 5:00 – 6:00 PM PDT
Location: Virtual (Link will be provided after registration)

If you are a nursing student looking for an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with pay in a real clinical setting, sign up today to listen, learn and ask questions! Register by October 11 HERE.Learn more about our ESN Program

Medical residency

We offer residencies and periodic fellowship opportunities to qualified applicants in a variety of areas. For medical residency opportunities, please contact the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia.

Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction

Residencies at the Red Fish Healing Centre are only available to medical residents in a Canadian postgraduate medical education program or to trainees under an accredited Addiction Medicine Fellowship. Priority is given to trainees under the BC Centre for Substance Use Addiction Medicine Fellowship and thus placements are typically full from cycle to cycle.

Correctional Health Services

All graduate and post-graduate medical placements are coordinated by institutions on behalf of students. Contact your university or college to explore placements with Correctional Health Services.

Forensic Psychiatric Clinics and Forensic Psychiatric Hospital

All learning opportunities in Forensics are coordinated through the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. Persons interested in doing electives at either the Forensics Hospital or the Victoria or Kelowna regional clinics should contact UBC for details.

Clinical psychology

Every year, through our Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) accredited Clinical Forensic Psychology Residency program, we offer two full-time residency positions to prepare doctoral students for professional practice in clinical and forensic psychology. Details about the program, including the philosophy, residency rotations, and stipend and benefits, are outlined in the residency brochure.

Over the course of the year, residents have the opportunity to engage in supervised clinical practice at two or more different settings:

How to apply

Submit your application online through the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centres portal. Visit their website for more information about the application process. You can also email our director of training, Dr. Shauna Darcangelo, at for more details.

Our psychology department also offers practicum placements for doctoral-level clinical psychology students in several program areas including the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, Regional Forensic Clinics, and the Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction.

Other clinical disciplines

We welcome clinical placements in a wide variety of other disciplines including, but not limited to, the following:

Nursing and nursing unit assistants

  • Nursing and nursing unit assistants 
  • Social work
  • Pharmacy
  • Recreation therapy
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Drug and alcohol counselling
  • Clinical nutrition
  • Occupational therapy 

All placements are coordinated by institutions on behalf of students through the Health Sciences Placement Network of BC (HSPnet). We do not accept requests directly from students. Please contact your university or institution for further information.

Non-clinical disciplines: Research and project-based placements

For research opportunities, visit our Research Opportunities page.

We also offer project-based placements, where students have the opportunity to support staff members on a specific project or various projects. The length of time required will depend on the nature of the project and its learning outcomes.

Project-based placements are typically coordinated through your learning institution. Speak with your placement coordinator or faculty advisor for more information or visit Health Sciences Placement Network to view opportunities.

Non-student opportunities


A limited number of volunteer opportunities are available at the Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addictions. For more information, contact the peer support lead.

Supervised practice experience

Regulatory experience for supervised practice means a learning experience required to fulfill licensure requirements. Typically, this is associated with a regulatory body (e.g. the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia.) Please contact the relevant regulatory body to explore opportunities.

For Placement Coordinators

All project-based placements are coordinated through the Health Sciences Placement Network of BC (HSPnet). HSPnet is an online practice education management system to coordinate student placements across Canada.

Submit placement requests through the online HSPnet portal, as we do not accept requests directly from students.

Schools without an active HSPnet account should email the network for a guest link. 

Need more information?

Read BC Practice Education Guidelines for more information about placement expectations within the province.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Email us your questions.

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