Nursing Volunteer Abroad

Many poor and developing countries are seriously lacking in healthcare, not least because of their meager workforce. They simply don’t have the resources to train and hire competent doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers, and their hospitals, if any, can provide little more than basic treatment.

Nursing volunteers are part of the solution to this problem. Nurses, whether active, retired, or in training, can offer hands-on assistance in impoverished clinics and help them provide better, more efficient service. Some nurses go into volunteer work while taking a break in their career, as it gives them a change of environment while allowing them to continue practicing. It’s a great way to gather experience, gain new skills, meet new people, and develop a whole new appreciation for your field.

Some organizations don’t require you to have a nursing license or a certain amount of experience, although these are always useful. As long as you have the skills and a desire to learn, you can join a nursing volunteer abroad program. Of course, positions with more responsibility will require more skills, so you may have to start with simple tasks and learn on the job. Each organization has its own rules, however, so look for one where your training and experience will be most valuable.

Most volunteer nurses help by spending one-on-one time with patients and their families, offering moral and emotional support, and assisting with movement, feeding, and personal hygiene. They are usually supervised by a charge nurse or head nurse, and may have to do a few administrative tasks such as keeping patient files and taking shifts at reception desks.

Your tasks as a nursing volunteer can vary throughout the day and week, and plans are often interrupted by emergency situations. Often, these require cooperation from several doctors and nurses. This is why resourcefulness, teamwork, and the ability to think on your feet are essential to performing well as a volunteer nurse.

You can volunteer as a nurse for as little as a week or over a year. Most organizations, however, recommend staying for at least a couple of weeks to get a real feel of how a volunteer-run clinic works. Many nurses end up working for charities after spending time as volunteers, inspired by the ability to help those in need. No matter what your decision is, the time you spend as a nursing volunteer abroad is always time well spent.

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