All requests for academic and clinical placements should be made through HSPnet. The receiving coordinator at BCCA will respond to requests in a timely manner and help organize the practicum experience. An approved affiliation agreement between the education institution and PHSA is required before any request can be advanced.
For more information about HSPnet and affiliation agreements, please visit:
Listed below is a general overview of potential student placement opportunities. In addition, opportunities exist for practicum placements in conjunction with various projects identified by the Professional Practice Nursing Team.
Systemic Therapy Program
Registered nurses in the Systemic Therapy Program provide education, care and support to new patients, patients undergoing chemotherapy and other drug therapies, as well as those who have completed treatment and require ongoing care and support. This care is provided in ambulatory clinics (ACU), where registered nurses work as part of the care team, participating in patient consultations and administering chemotherapy and other drug treatments. As well, registered nurses in the Systemic Therapy Program work with patients enrolled in clinical trials (CT) and support patients between clinic visits by providing advice and information over the phone.
Radiation Therapy Program
The BC Cancer Agency provides various types of radiation treatment to patients. The role of registered nurses in the Radiation Therapy Program has evolved significantly in the past few years, as new patient care needs are identified in conjunction with new radiation techniques. As key members of the Radiation Therapy Program Team, registered nurses work closely with oncologists and radiation therapists to contribute to processes that support the sharing and application of new treatment approaches. They also provide care, education and support to patients undergoing treatment.
Ambulatory Care Unit
In Systemic Therapy, students are mentored with a register nurse. In these clinics, registered nurses work with patients and their families along their cancer journey. Patients come to these clinics for new patient consultation, assessment while on active treatment and/or for follow-up post chemotherapy or radiation.
Patient Review / Patient Support
In our Radiation Therapy patient review and patient support centre, students observe/participate in the provision of care to patients who are currently receiving Radiation Therapy. Nurses in this area provide assessments, wound care, patient education and management of side effects of treatment.
In-patient services are located only at the Vancouver Cancer Centre. The inpatient unit is a busy 30 bed general oncology unit. Of these 30 beds, two are emergency assessment beds (EABs) and one is for post operative breast surgery patients. Students observe / participate in the provision of care to patients who may be admitted at any point during their cancer experience from confirmation of diagnosis through treatment and palliation. A majority of admissions require supportive care during and post cancer treatment. Students will develop skills in pain and symptom management, as well as caring for patients receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy (both internal and external). Student care focuses on comprehensive assessment of patients as well as the support and teaching of patients and their families to meet complex needs. The student nurse will support each patient and their family as a member of an interdisciplinary team of health professionals, including: physicians, nurses, social workers, radiation therapists, pharmacists, clinical dieticians and rehabilitation specialists.
The Surgical Suite offers specialized services that aid in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Working in the Surgical Day Care, Operating Room and Recovery Room, nurses are members of a multi-disciplinary team. Their professional skills and personal sensitivity support patients as they undergo and recover from such advanced procedures as laser therapy, prostate brachytherapy, biopsies and bone marrow harvests.
Pain and Symptom Management Team
The Pain and Symptom Management Team offers specialized services that aid in minimizing symptoms and improving the quality of patient’s lives. Working in the ACU clinics, inpatient units and with telephone care, the nurse is a member of a collaborative team. Their professional skills and personal sensitivity support patients in a holistic manner.
We envision that evaluation is an interactive, iterative process. This means that:
- preceptors contribute to evaluating learner performance during the placement (as outlined by the school)
- learners evaluate the role of the preceptor
- learners provide feedback on the clinical placement experience
The BC Cancer Agency strives to provide opportunities, support and resources for the development of preceptors. The BC Cancer Agency, in collaboration with the educational institution, identifies nurses to participate in clinical placements as preceptors.
Utilization of Clinical Skills
Opportunities for undergraduate students to practice basic registered nursing skills are available in all settings. Added skills such as, administering chemotherapy, are within the domain of registered nurses who have completed specialized education programs and as such will not be supported. If appropriate, students may be supported by their preceptor to complete BC Cancer Agency requirements for skill certification.
Students are required to complete the Student practice education and orientation program through the CCRS system. Once students are successfully registered through HSPnet an Education Resource Nurse or identified facilitator will ensure the student will receive information about general and site-specific orientation expectations at the BC Cancer Agency.