Debra McPherson Member Education Bursary

The Member Education Bursary has been renamed the Debra McPherson Member Education Bursary. The announcement was made at the annual convention of the BC Nurses' Union in 2023.

The Debra McPherson Member Education is open to all dues-paying active members including employed student nurses. Debra McPherson served as BCNU's president from 1990-1994 and from 2000-2014. She had a strong desire to create learning opportunities for BCNU members. This bursary is in recognition of her vision and advocacy.

How to Apply

Members must approach their employer first to seek other funding. If the course is a job requirement your employer must pay the costs (see your PCA Article 35 or Public Service Master Agreement Article 23.01).

Your social insurance number (SIN) is required for income tax purposes.

Application deadlines are April 15 and September 15 of each year. Applications are now open for the September 2024 intake. 

Application form

What Courses Qualify? 

  • Post-basic clinical seminars, programs, or conferences
  • Courses to enhance specific skills 
  • Courses to allow a change in practice (e.g. long-term care nurses moving to acute care)
  • Specialty training 
  • Career laddering (eg. PCA to LPN, LPN to RN/RPN)
  • Courses/prerequisites leading to a post-secondary nursing degree  
  • Upgrading English language skills
  • Upgrading relevant computer skills
  • Canadian Nurses Association first-time course and exam. Recertification course or exam will not be eligible.

* Other courses may also qualify. Contact BCNU at for more information. Members can only receive this bursary one time.

When Should You Apply?

  • If your course starts after the previous Sept. 15 intake deadline, you can apply for the April 15 intake or for the following Sept. 15 intake.
  • If your course starts before Sept. 15, you should apply before the Sept. 15 intake deadline.
  • If the course can be started anytime during the year, you need to apply before the Sept. 15 intake deadline. 

Award Process

The maximum award will be based on the funds available.

Applications open in early January of each year. There are two deadlines per year: April 15 and Sept. 15.

The BCNU Bursary Committee reviews applications each May and October to determine eligibility and approve/deny requests. Decisions of the Committee are final.

Preference will be given to first time applicants.  If you have applied for and received funding from this bursary in the past, you are not eligible to apply again.  

The recognition letters will be sent by email in mid-May and mid-October, after each respective application deadline. Please ensure you check your junk mail folders as well. 


Successful applicants must complete and mail to BCNU an expense form and verify their enrolment in a qualifying program (verification can include a letter from the educational institution, verification of fees or tuition paid or a transcript). 

Approval of expenses is based on the course(s)/conference(s) described in your application. Only receipts relating to the application submitted will be accepted.

Funds are only for tuition, related textbooks, conference registration and mandatory course fees. Assessment fees (NNAS), travel, hotel, rent, personal bills, living expenses, and any other expenses are not eligible and will not be reimbursed.

If you have any further questions, please contact the Debra McPherson Member Education Bursary email at

UPDATED: June 06, 2024
Debra McPherson

Debra McPherson 

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