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Finding a job in healthcare, or in any field for that matter, can be extremely competitive. For students or recent graduates to distinguish themselves from others, gaining much-needed experience in the field — whether it’s finding a co-op job for one semester or working in a hospital setting for a couple of hours a day — is very important.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) invests in students by offering different programs and opportunities that will help forward their careers. With many programs held in-house at AHS, allows students and recent graduates openings to grow their career.

“As an organization, we understand how important it is to grow our own,” said Sarah McDonald, advisor, Talent Acquisition at AHS. “We do that through quality placements, which is a partnership between our employees, our organization and the educational institutions.”

McDonald advises anyone interested in a student opportunity to continue to watch AHS’s website as opportunities come up at various times.

Here are seven programs and opportunities available at AHS.


A student placement is any unpaid practice education experience that is a requirement of an educational program, as noted on the AHS website. Both clinical and non-clinical students can apply, however, applicants must apply through their post-secondary institution.

Prerequisites for clinical students include; requesting a placement with your school, meeting AHS’s stated immunization requirements, obtaining a cleared police check, completing confidentiality training and taking AHS online orientation.

Non-clinical students (those who will not have any direct contact with a patient) can apply by completing the non-clinical placement form and other required documents, including completing the HSPnet Student Consent Form A and submitting both of these documents to their placement coordinator at their school.

Program length varies, based on your educational institutions requirements. Different programs require different hours to meet completion standards. Placements can range from be a week in length up to a full semester.

Transitional grad nurse

This residency program helps students develop confidence and competence needed to become an independent nursing professional. It provides much needed organizational, clinical learning and social support, according to AHS standards.

Students apply to this program through the job board. “We typically do see the program rolled out at the end of what would be [students’] semester time,” McDonald said.

Transitional grad nurses fall under the same collective agreement as other nurses working for AHS. “We partner them with a mentor, and once they’re considered fit to practice, they can start applying for jobs.”

Undergrad nursing employee (UNE)

Undergraduate nurse employees (UNEs) provide patient care under the supervision of registered nurses (RN) or registered psychiatric nurses (RPN) UNEs are responsible for educating patients, working with inter-professional teams, documenting assessments, decisions, observations and revisions, among other tasks.

To be eligible to apply, students must be enrolled in an approved RN or RPN education program and have their current health care provider CPR certificate. They can apply online through the AHS job board.

Most of the positions are during the summer when students are out of school. Students must have 450 clinical hours completed to be in the undergraduate nursing employee position.

Northern Alberta development council (NADC) bursary

This bursary is offered in partnership with the AHS and the Northern Alberta Development Council (NADC). It allows students the opportunity to fund their education and the chance to experience the lifestyle Northern Alberta has to offer.

The bursary will match between $1,000 and $3,000 per student, to a total of $6,000 a year. Successful applicants must sign a separate Return of Service Agreements from both AHS and NADC. Students will have to obtain a position at an AHS facility within the NADC’s geographic areas to satisfy the terms of both agreements. Students can learn more and apply to this bursary through either the NADC website or the AHS website.

Co-op placements for students in corporate fields of study in finance, accounting, HR, IT, communications, design, etc.

Students not in a healthcare program can still apply to co-op positions at AHS. They will gain both academic and practical experience with mentorship and guidance from a team of business professionals.

Positions are usually available throughout the academic school year, but AHS is always looking to hire co-op students year-round. Students can apply online. To be eligible, they must be registered as a full-time post-secondary student in an accredited institution, returning for courses in the next academic term and legally entitled to work in Canada. The placements usually last four months.

Dual-credit health care aide program

This program is run by Alberta Education (Alberta Ed), a high school program. AHS partners with Alberta Ed to get high school students to complete the health care aide program while still in high school, and then they can come into their placement at AHS.

Once students are done the program, they get the health care aide certificate. This allows high school students to launch their careers very early.

“They’ve almost completed high school, or they may be currently in high school a completed the program, so these individuals have a chance at an early start to what could be a very long-term career,” McDonald said.

Grade 10, 11 and 12 students can earn high school credits that count towards post-secondary courses. If they’re interested, students need to talk to their career counsellors or career advisers to apply. They also need to have their criminal records checked and vulnerable sector search completed, as well as having their immunization records meet AHS’s immunization policy.

Co-op programs

Co-op are another partnership program that AHS participates in. Post-secondary students apply to enrol in their co-op program at their educational institution.

“We work with those educational institutions to help place those co-op students in paid opportunities to work,” McDonald said.

Students can apply through their post-secondary institution, and each institution may have their own requirements for applying. The co-op program usually lasts one semester or four months.

Health care