Volunteer abroad during nursing school

  1. 0
    Just wondered if anyone here has volunteered abroad while in school? I am interested in those who volunteered independently rather than if you went with your class or a group you were familiar with. I know for myself it will be an experience just to observe the healthcare of those less fortunate.
    Please respond if you volunteered independently, I am currently looking to work with ISL. However, I am just worried about arrival in countries by myself. I have lived in Europe and traveled alone many times but places like Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Haiti scare me.

    Any info would be helpful!

    Also-I do not need responses regarding my current skill level, I am well aware that I do not have a license
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  4. 8 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    I know you know you don't have a license. You also don't have practical experience as a nurse. Most organizations who do volunteer work such as you are envisioning don't want someone who can't hit the ground running-- they get flooded with offers from well-meaning people but those people are a drag on the workforce in the field because they are not capable of independent function from the git-go, including during the pre-travel training. Investigate their websites and you'll find that out in a hurry.

    Wait until you're ready for this sort of demanding work. Or try the Peace Corps- they have 3, 6, and 12-month hitches now. They want people who have something to offer but may take you without a degree or license.
  6. 0
    Hahahaha.
  7. 0
    Quote from lauren_elizabeth
    Hahahaha.
    x2. Don't let anyone tell you you can't find anything that will fit what you're looking for. I'm not sure why this forum has a tendency to solicit arrogant all-or-nothing responses meant to squash the original poster's vision or concern. I don't see a culture of that on the other forum I look at.

    Back to the point: I suggest talking to health care providers who do/have done international volunteering and see what they suggest. You may find that on AN, or try posting on a general travel forum or on another health care provider's forum, since it isn't only nurses/nursing students who provide volunteer health care abroad. You could also check out your school's learning abroad center, since they often have a lot of information about not-for-credit volunteer abroad programs, some of which might fit your criteria.
  8. 2
    Quote from priorities2
    x2. Don't let anyone tell you you can't find anything that will fit what you're looking for. I'm not sure why this forum has a tendency to solicit arrogant all-or-nothing responses meant to squash the original poster's vision or concern. I don't see a culture of that on the other forum I look at.

    Back to the point: I suggest talking to health care providers who do/have done international volunteering and see what they suggest. You may find that on AN, or try posting on a general travel forum or on another health care provider's forum, since it isn't only nurses/nursing students who provide volunteer health care abroad. You could also check out your school's learning abroad center, since they often have a lot of information about not-for-credit volunteer abroad programs, some of which might fit your criteria.

    The poster GrnTea is just being realistic. What would she do there? She said herself that she wants to "observe the healthcare of those less fortunate". To me that translates as "I really can't do anything to help but it is humbling to see how much your life sucks." The situation gives off a hint of a pre-colonialism European looking at the simplicity of the African native and wondering how on earth they could live in such a way. I am sorry I just don't see the usefulness of spending thousands of dollars to travel to another country as a student that can't do much, why not just wait until you have a license?

    I am going to guess you are a white female? You will stick out like a sore thumb and not in a good way. I have been to Haiti (mostly spent time in the Dominican) and know of a few guys in the military who were down in Central America. Travelling alone or by yourself in these places is NOT advised. Those places should scare you. I am a decent sized male and I wouldn't go to many of those countries as a volunteer without some security, I am serious. After travelling a bit in Eastern Europe and the America's (South/Carib/Central), any hint of being an American will make you a target especially if you go independently.

    Why not go with a church group or something that builds houses or teaches classes until you can get with a reputable volunteer organization?
    Last edit by Dranger on Oct 15, '13
    HouTx and GrnTea like this.
  9. 0
    What are you envisioning as your role? You mention observing.....

    Why not volunteer here in the states first? I have lived overseas in three different countries and no country wants Americans coming over to observe
  10. 3
    Quote from priorities2
    x2. Don't let anyone tell you you can't find anything that will fit what you're looking for. I'm not sure why this forum has a tendency to solicit arrogant all-or-nothing responses meant to squash the original poster's vision or concern. I don't see a culture of that on the other forum I look at.
    Perhaps it's because fora with a lot of new grads or nurse wannabes have a reasonably high percentage of people who have unrealistic and uninformed views of what nursing is and does, and they overestimate their abilities to jump right into doing it. AN has a good number of more experienced people who understand that it's better to know the realities first before jumping into something that needs an experienced track record. Your mileage may vary; one of the beauties of a site like this is you can take it or leave it.

    I agree with priorities2 and traumaRUs; find a reputable group that will give opportunities for observing, learning, and participating at the OP's level, in this country (where there are lots of needs) or elsewhere.

    Not really sure what the OP's hahaha was all about. Perhaps it's another reflection of immaturity, but hey. What do I know?
    HouTx, krisiepoo, and elkpark like this.
  11. 1
    Some schools of nursing do have summer programs for nursing students to volunteer in other countries (as an official school activity, with supervision by licensed faculty), that are only open to individuals who are already nursing students at those schools. I've never heard of any program that allows students to volunteer independently (unless it's just volunteering as a plain ol' member of the public, not in any role specifically related to providing healthcare services.

    I agree with other posters here that, if you want to "observe the healthcare of those less fortunate," there are plenty of "less fortunate" right here in the US of A, and plenty of opportunities to volunteer. Lots of homeless shelters have healthcare programs that welcome volunteers, and lots of cities have primary care clinics specifically for the homeless that welcome volunteers.

    Best wishes for your journey.
    GrnTea likes this.
  12. 0
    Thank you all for your responses


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