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BC - Employed Student Nurse/New Graduate program

Ionno31 Ionno31 (New) New

I have a few questions about the ESN and new grad program offered by Fraser Health/Coastal Health/PHSA for people who've participated. If anyone could enlighten me it'd be greatly appreciated!

1/ The ESN program: is there a maximum or minimum time you have to work for the hospital? I'm thinking of applying for the summer (2 months) but I'm not sure if they would hire someone for such short period of time.

2/ The ESN program: do you get to choose which specialty or is it strictly med/surg?

3/ The New Grad program: again, do you get to choose a specialty? And if anyone can just briefly explain how the program works it'd be great.

That's it for now. Thanks in advance!

Really? Nobody? :crying2:

For the ESN program, generally vancouver coastal only hires into med/surg, same with their new grad program.

PHSA, is all already specialties, which they do hire esn and new grads into. Fraser health will also hire into specialty programs and well as new grad in both areas. Usually if your hired as a new grad into a specialty they will require you to take a specialty course.

Good Luck!


Not sure about Vancouver Coastal, but w/ Fraser Health:

1) You are given 300 hours which can be renewed each March. You may opt to work less than the 300 hours if you choose to. With some units, you may request to work more than the 300 hours (I know a few from my class who were successful in this. It depends on the unit.)

2) On the application, there was a wide variety of specialties to choose from. I don't remember exactly, but I would guess about 15 or 20 to choose from. Not all specialties were available to choose from. About 20 people from my cohort applied (and all were successful in being accepted into the ESN program) and only a few either got their second choice or were offered placement in different units (everyone else got their first choice). You may choose to work in a diff unit annually.

3) I am unfamiliar with the New Grad program.

Note: This is based on my experience as an ESN. I could be mistaken or things could change. I suggest going to the Fraser Health website and finding the FAQ page about ESNs; the program is called something like "something Start Program". Hope that helps

Vanillanut, DNP, RN, APRN

Specializes in Emergency, Internal Medicine, Sports Med. Has 6 years experience.

Hi there,

I have worked as an ESN for Fraser health and I'm about to graduate this May (yay!) Here's the deal with the ESN program:

Each different health authority grants different # hours. The # hours granted varies depends on the duration of study left in your bachelors program. The first time I applied, I received 430 hours. The second time I applied, I received 400 hours. Note that this is hospital/unit specific, as I have other friends who work for Fraser at different sites and have more or fewer hours. Also note that some units don't mind paying you beyond the hour deadline, providing thats agreed upon prior. My unit right now, does not.

ESN is not strictly med-surg. However, as I am a BCIT student specializing in Emerg I was hired into Emergency along with other BCIT emerg specialty students who were ESNs. Other schools' ESNs were there too, so I would try. I know other people in my program who got ESN jobs in acute care, NICU, Labor/Maternity, Childrens, others in Mental Health & addictions, etc. You really have to be interested in persuing a career in other areas though, if you want to work there as an ESN. Generally they don't take you if you "just want to try it". There are some sites who take people only after serious consideration that they will continue on, and the ESN opportunity is more of a bridge vs a trial.

New Grad programs depends on the hospital you work at, and the unit you end up on.

All the best, let me know if you have any other ?'s. :) :nurse:

By the way 2 months is plenty of time- they understand you're a student and expect you to mainly work the summer months only. Just be prepared to perhaps a bit of ESN competition of your unit has many of them, as generally speaking you can't have more then a couple on per shift. Apply early and get your schedule nailed down and you're fine. Lots of people work only summers.

Edited by Vanillanut
more info

Wow thanks guys. Very informative. I just started on my application for Fraser Health so I hope it all pans out.

Now I just have something I hope people can advise me on...I'll be done my 2nd year study by May, and we've only done rotations in med/surg, do you think I will be considered for an ESN position in the ER? I want to work there as soon as I graduate but I'm not sure if my skills, as of now, are sufficient enough to work in such a fast paced environment.

Anyway, thanks again for all your help!

Vanillanut, DNP, RN, APRN

Specializes in Emergency, Internal Medicine, Sports Med. Has 6 years experience.

I have been an ESN at a major hospital Emerg with Fraser health since Dec, 2008.

I kid you not, I learned more there in my 2 summers then I did in all of my school practicums combined. There are some nurses who are crabby, some nurses who are absolutely stellar teachers, and everyone else in between.

I think if you have the right attitude and don't pretend to know it all- also be proactive and don't just stand around like you might on a med/surg unit. The nurses love it when you're engaged and involved rather then just passing the buck. I have had so many wonderful opportunities there (assisting in traumas with log rolling, cutting off clothes, removing shards of glass, doing CPR) that I would never have anywhere else. I also have gotten my assessment skills WAY WAY better then before, and my "gut instinct" is more on the mark.

If emerg is something you're interested in for the future, I highly recommend it. Just be prepared to work hard, and look stuff up when you get home because you definitely won't know everything.

Thank you so much Vanillanut! It's nice to talk to someone who's been through it all and knows the system. I've officially put ER as my first priority on the application. I hope I learn lots in the summer!


I applied for ESNing and had my onsite interview with a manager yesterday.

I think it went well however they told me they will get back to me.

Is this a bad sign? All the other people I spoke to on different units said they were told they are hired right away.

Is it normal for them to say they will get back to you or should i consider that i didn't get the job?