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Canadian and International Professional Practice Placements


Canadian and International Professional Practice Placements  

 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  unique clinical placement in your final year. This placement is not "voluntourism." It is a truly immersive process in which you live, learn, and work in remote, northern or lower-income health care setting or country. Students are challenged at every level, and inevitably return with new perspectives on social determinants of health, global inequities and a passion to meaningfully contribute to a more just world.

Some of the things you will learn:

  • what it is like to work alongside international nurses, physicians, and other professionals from a variety of backgrounds and heath care paradigms. 
  • health care inequities across Canada, particularly remote and norther communities 
  • cross-cultural communication and cultural safety
  • nursing processes and strategies when funding and resources are variable 
  • what Primary Health Care looks like at its furthest reach and truest expression
  • participation in vibrant and struggling communities
  • 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.

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.

 Peruse the following pages for more information and, if you still have questions, feel free to contact:

Joanna Pierazzo, Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Nursing Program 

905.525.9140 x 22699 

Mediha Kadic, Program Manager 

905.525.9140 x 20843

Related Topics

Canadian and International Professional Practice Placements

Dear Students,

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

General Overview

Students considering a Canadian or International 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 International 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: vaccination requirements and safety concerns in their country of choice.



Canadian and International Professional Practice Application Process

You must meet all criteria in order to be eligible for these unique Professional Practice Placements.
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 placement as outlined below. 

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 

Step 1: Create Your Application Profile

Your profile will consist of the following documents:

A) Application Profile 
B) Letter of Interest
C) Resume

A) Application Profile 

Available under the “Forms” section 

B) Letter of Interest

The Letter of Interest must meet the following criteria:

  • 3-page maximum
  • 1" margins
  • 12-point font
  • single-spaced
  • Addressed to Joanna Pierazzo, Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Nursing Program 

The Letter of Interest should address the following subjects:

  • Geographic preference and rationale for a Northern or Global Placement 
  • Clinical Area of Interest, including Knowledge of the health system are care needs of the patient population 
  • Describe your plan to prepare for this experience including: course work, knowledge of the nursing role in this health/geographic context, potential facilitators/barriers for learning  

C) Resume

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: 'Canadian or International Health Placement Application - YEAR - YOUR NAME'.

Email file to  with subject line "Canadian or International Health Placement Application - YOUR NAME"

Step 2: The Interview

The documents submitted in your Application Profile (Step 1) will be assessed and, if complete and successful, you will be contacted to attend an interview. 

In this interview, we will review your application, including interests, goals and attributes for success.   

​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. 
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: Letter of Reference

Using the standardized reference form, found under "Forms" section, submit a reference from a clinical tutor to  by 4:30 PM on May 20, 2022. 

For Basic (A) Stream students: Letter of reference from a clinical tutor (from Level III)

For ​Post Diploma RPN (E) Stream students: Letter of reference from a clinical tutor.

For Accelerated (F) Stream students: Letter of reference from clinical tutor. 

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

  • 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: 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 once you return from your Global Health placement.

Professional Practice Placement Forms

Application Process Forms 

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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