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Global Health Professional Practice Placements


The Global Health Experience: A different world of Nursing 

Are you an academically strong student with an intrepid spirit?

Do you have the highest ethical standards and respect for diversity?

Considering Global Health Nursing as a career?

We may have an incredible opportunity for you.

As a student in our BScN Program (in Basic, Post Diploma RPN, or Accelerated Streams), you have an opportunity to apply for a 12-week clinical placement in a remote setting in your final year. This placement is not "voluntourism." It is a truly immersive process in which you live, learn, and work in a lower-income country or remote northern Canadian community. Students are challenged at every level, and inevitably return with new perspectives on global inequities and a passion to meaningfully contribute to a more just world.

Some of the things you will learn:

  • cross-cultural communication and cultural safety
  • nursing processes and strategies when funding and resources are low
  • what it is like to work alongside international nurses, physicians, and other professionals from a variety of backgrounds and health care paradigms
  • what Primary Health Care looks like at its furthest reach and truest expression
  • participation in vibrant and struggling communities
  • scholarship in a completely new context
  • the urgent global mandate to turn the tide on socioeconomic inequities
  • to see the social determinants of health in sharp relief
  • how many assumptions you carry and how difficult it is to critically examine them
  • how beautiful and challenging your chosen career can be

The following sections of the website will give prospective and current students in the BScN Program (McMaster, Mohawk, and Conestoga sites) the tools they need to decide whether this placement is right for them. Having decided, it will guide them in planning, applying, and preparing for their semester abroad.

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide our BScN students with the highest quality of educational experience in a global (international and/or intercultural) setting.

 Our History

McMaster University has consistently been a leader in supporting Nursing students in extended international and/or intercultural educational experiences. Almost 40 years ago, McMaster was already a world-renowned School of Nursing boasting a brand-new learning style called “Problem-Based Learning.” Courageous innovation was in the air. A small group of scholars, including McMaster BScN professors Basanti Majumdar, Barbara Carpio, Anne Ehrlich, and Michael Ladouceur, identified the need for also emphasizing global health in nursing education. Catching the fresh winds of the World Health Organization’s Declaration of Alma Ata (1978), these colleagues initiated and developed an unprecedented program of study that offered an immersive experience in Primary Health Care in resource-constrained environments. There was power here for transformative learning. In 1984, their strategy came to life and they sent their first students abroad.

Since then, different faculty and staff at the McMaster School of Nursing have facilitated the placements of hundreds of students in more than 25 countries worldwide and in 6 provinces and 3 northern Territories in Canada. Through our collaborative partnerships with Mohawk College and Conestoga College, we now have three sites extending this exciting opportunity to BScN students.

Today, faculty with Global Health expertise continue to advance our practical and academic goals at all three sites. Peruse the following pages for more information and, if you still have questions, feel free to contact:

Iris Mujica, Faculty

905.525.9140 x 24730 

Mediha Kadic, Program Coordinator

905.525.9140 x 20843

Related Topics

Global Health Professional Practice Placements
Fall Term 2021 

Dear Students,

At this time, the application process for Global Health Placements has been placed on hold until further notice. This is a result of the current pandemic and the limitations related to student travel. 

If you have any questions, please contact ​ 
Mediha Kadic at

General Overview

Students considering global health placement opportunities must give careful consideration to the benefits and the risks of the commitment. These placements can offer very rich and unique experiences, but are not independent of the geographical areas they take place in (which can be similar to, or very different from our catchment area). Students must make an informed decision when pursuing a global health placement and thoroughly research their intended destination to understand culture, social norms, weather, potential natural disasters, evacuation plans, prevalent disease, required vaccinations or prophylactic medications, living conditions, internet capability, costs and entry to country requirements. It is equally important to consult Government of Canada Travel and Tourism for travel advice and advisories, embassies and consulates, emergency assistance abroad, registration for Canadians traveling abroad etc. International students may also need to consult official requirements of their home country. Thorough preparation will help promote a safe and healthy experience.

Questions to consider:

  • What do you hope to gain, learn or give? How do you expect this experience will influence your career?
  • Do you want to challenge yourself with a unique and professionally enriching opportunity?
  • Which setting do you primarily want to experience: hospitalcliniccommunity or public health?
  • Do you want to learn about diseases or health problems that aren’t found in Southern Ontario?
  • Do you hope to gain experience in a different culture, language, or population than your own?
  • Is there a specific culture, language or other population group with whom you wish to work?
  • Does the setting you are interested in have the necessary people and infrastructure to support your learning activities and to meet the course objectives?
  • Have you spoken with someone who has worked in the setting or one similar to where you want to go?
  • What personal strengths and challenges will you take to this placement?
  • Do you have the financial resources or a financial plan to participate?

Note: The application process for Global Health Professional Practice is extensive to ensure suitable candidates, promote safety and provide a quality experience to our students and placement partners. Students should research their location of interest and take the necessary steps to promote safety such as: researching vaccination requirements and safety concerns in their country of choice. There are a number of management forms that students will complete to ensure safety.



Global Health Professional Practice Application Process

Update during Covid-19 

Dear Students,

After careful deliberation, BScN Program is looking at reintroducing the Global Health Program with the goal of resuming placements in Fall 2022. Admissions process details will be posted shortly. 

Based on the information received throughout this application process, the Global Health Education Committee (GHEC) reserves the right to decide whether or not the student is eligible for a Global Health Professional Practice Placement. Our goal is to help you achieve success. You must meet all criteria in order to be eligible for a Global Health Professional Practice Placement. If successful, ​you will be contacted by the BScN Program Coordinator. All application questions are to be directed to

Note: Students in the Accelerated (F) Stream of the BScN Program who are interested in a Global Health Professional Practice are strongly encouraged to contact Academic Advising Services  during their first term of studies to discuss options. 

How to Apply:

Please review the steps involved in obtaining a Global Health Professional Practice Placement as outlined below. Please note the steps below may not occur in the order they are listed. 

Important Dates

Note: The deadlines are listed below. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that their file is complete by the deadline.

  • Application Deadline: TBA
  • Interviews: TBA 
  • Reference Letter Deadline: TBA
  • Pre-departure Documents: TBA
  • Pre-departure Workshop: TBA
  • Re-Entry Session: TBD

Step 1: Create Your Application Profile

Your profile will consist of the following documents:

A) Cover Sheet
B) Letter of Intent
C) Resume
D) Global Health Clinical Preparation Checklist

A) Cover Sheet

Available under the “Forms” section 

B) Letter of Intent

The Letter of Intent must meet the following criteria:

  • 3-page maximum
  • 1" margins
  • 12-point font
  • single-spaced
  • Addressed to Nina Cavey, GHEC Chair and the Global Health Education Committee

The Letter of Intent should address the following subjects:

  • Why you are interested in a Global Placement; outline your goals
  • Your geographic preference
  • Your knowledge of the site you wish to visit (i.e. geography, history, demographics, health care system, priority health care issues, role of nursing, etc.)
  • Your clinical focus (i.e. community or other)
  • Type of population you may care for
  • Your language skills (if relevant to the language of care) 
  • Your knowledge of the nursing profession in the country or role of the nurse in the clinical setting
  • How this placement will differ from those in Southern Ontario
  • Which term you plan to complete your global placement (Spring/Summer or Fall).

C) Resume

D) Global Health Clinical Preparation Checklist

  • Submit a completed Global Health Clinical Preparation Checklist. Found under "Forms" section
  • This form helps you organize the planning of your professional practice placement and gives the Global Health Education Committee (GHEC) an idea of how far along you are in the process. The more thorough you are in completing this form the better it will give the Committee an idea of your level of commitment to the application process

Application Deadline: TBA

To submit your Application Profile. Please save all four documents listed above in one PDF file using the following file name template: 'Global Health Placement Application - YEAR - YOUR NAME'.

Email file to Mediha Kadic ( with subject line "Global Health Placement Application - YOUR NAME"

Step 2: The Interview

The documents submitted in your Application Profile (Step 1) will be assessed by the Global Health Education Committee (GHEC) and, if complete and successful, you will be contacted to attend an interview. 
Successful applicants will be interviewed by two faculty members who are members of the GHEC. One of the Interviewers will typically be from your BScN site. Interviews are scored. Should you fail the Interview, you will not have the opportunity for a second attempt and will not proceed to the next level of the screening process.
In preparation for the Interview, review your Letter of Intent (Step 1A) and consider the following:

  • Your understanding of BScN curriculum
  • The SON philosophy of learning
  • NURSING 4J07 course aims as they relate to your planned practice placement (refer to N4J07 Course Curriculum on Avenue). 
  • The challenges of being placed in your planned setting.
  • Your personal attributes for success, including interpersonal, problem - solving, group skills, etc.

​Step 3: Academic Record

Your grade report will be reviewed by Academic Advising Services to ensure that you meet the minimum academic requirements for success. If your academic record does not meet the requirements, you will be informed by the Chair of the Global Health Education Committee (GHEC).
Prerequisites include but are not limited to:

  1. A GPA of 8.0 from all mandatory HTHSCI/NURSING courses in Level II and Fall term of Level III (Basic Stream); Winter term Level II and Fall term Level III (Post RPN Stream); Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer terms Level III (Accelerated)
  2. A grade of ‘P’ (Pass) in all Professional Practice NURSING courses
  3. A minimum grade of C- in NURSING 4H03 

Step 4: Letters of Reference

Using the standardized reference form, found under "Forms" section, submit two Letters of Reference to Mediha Kadic ( by 4:30 PM on TBD  (Basic and Post Diploma RPN Stream) and by 4:30 PM on TBD  (Accelerated Stream)

For Basic (A) Stream students: Letters of reference from clinical tutors (one from Level II and one from Level III)

For ​Post Diploma RPN (E) Stream students: One from a clinical tutor and one from an employer.

For Accelerated (F) Stream students: Letters of reference from professional practice tutors (one from term 1 and one from term 2 of their first academic year).

Successful Applicants 

If you have been chosen to participate in a Global Health Professional Practice Placement  and  have met all the requirements please follow the steps below.

Step 1: Risk & Liability

The following will need to be submitted to Mediha Kadic at HSC 2J36 no later than 4:30 PM on TBD (for Basic and RPN to BScN stream students) and TBD (for Accelerated stream students): ​

  • Liability Agreement between yourself and McMaster University. Original, hard-copy must be submitted. Found under "Forms" section. 

Step 2: Final Documentation

The following will need to be submitted in Avenue to Learn (ATL) well in advance of your departure. 

  • Copy of your travel itinerary
  • Proof of private medical insurance
  • List of emergency contacts in Canada
  • Information where you can be contacted while in your placement (address, phone, e-mail)

Step 3: Pre-departure Orientation Workshop

​You must attend a Pre-departure Orientation Workshop organized by the School of Nursing at the McMaster site. At this workshop you will be required to complete other forms as needed by the School.
Note: Your Global Health Professional Practice Placement should normally start at the beginning of the Spring/Summer or Fall term and continues until the end of term (as per university calendar).
You must attend the Nursing 4J07 - GH course orientation before you begin your placement and set up a meeting with your professional practice tutor before departure.

 Step 4: Re-entry Session

You must attend a Fall/Winter re-entry session to share your Global Health experiences. This occurs in early September and January once you return from your Global Health placement.

Professional Practice Placement Forms

Application Process Forms 

To be posted shortly 

Legal Forms (successful applicants only please)

These forms are essential in order for McMaster to release a student to go on field trips, research activities and student placements. They will also help you consider a variety of risks you are taking on as you plan your global health placement.

Professional Practice Placement Funding

There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available to students who are completing a placement in Canada or abroad.

Many of our students have been successful in obtaining financial support for their Global Health clinical placement. 

Refer to the links below. We suggest that you speak with a representative of the financial aid office at your respective site.

  • The Awards Offices at each of our program sites (they have lists with criteria)
  • Your site’s School of Nursing (McMaster University, Conestoga College or Mohawk College)
  • The CNO
  • The RNAO
  • Nursing students' organizations
  • Rotary Club
  • Faith-based organizations


Potential Placements

Availability of placements is dependent on our placement partners. Please note all placements must be initiated by and arranged through the Placement Office. 

The following organizations are potential placements where students have been placed in previous years or have potential new placement. 

Note: The placement must be safe for Canadians to travel to; must agree to taking level 4 students and must agree to an Affiliate Agreement.







Macha Mission Hospital





Latin America & Caribbean

St Vincent and the Grenadines


St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College


St. George’s

Ministry of Health and Social Security

Canadian North / Outpost


 Kenora Lake of the Woods District Hospital

Moose Factory

Weeneebayko Area Health Authority

 Attawapiskat & Associated Northern Ontario Locations

Sioux Lookout

Meno-Ya-Win Health Centre

 Manitoulin Island  Manitoulin Health Centre



Dawson City

Yukon Hospital Corporation

 Whitehorse  Yukon Hospital Corporation
 Northwest Territories  Fort Smith  Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority
   Australia* Indigenous Health
 Any  Any



Wondering what a Global Health Nursing placement might be like? Take a moment to read about some of our Nursing students' experiences. We are going to be gathering some more stories from students, so check back here periodically. For now, take a look at stories from students that completed their Global Health professional practice placements in 2019.   

Nepal 2019

Athani - "My Global Clinical Experience in Nepal"

"Brooklyn Brauer Abroad" 

Yukon 2019

Tierra Reay - Whitehorse Story      

Zambia 2019

My Global Health Experiences at Macha Mission Hospital



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