Most useful advanced degree for working in a third-world countryRegister Today!
- by James1:27 Jan 30, '12Hello All,
My name is Cameron, and I'm a male undergraduate nursing student. Here's the deal: I am set on becoming a medical missionary to a third-world country, preferably East Africa (an area where the living conditions are perhaps some of the worst in the world). Before this happens, I would like to obtain an advanced nursing degree to best prepare me for serving others.
I have a strong interest in working with orphans, though I am open to all scopes of practice. I would like to have the freedom to venture outside of the hospital itself to seek out those who do not have the luxury of medical care- be it monetary limitations, physical distance from a hospital, or family responsibilities that render such a venture impossible. Given these parameters, I believe that (in my extremely limited knowledge) it may be best to pursue a nurse practitioner degree... maybe family practice or pediatric practice. So my first question is: what are the most significant differences between FNP and PNP, and would it really make all that much of a difference when working in a third-world country? Which degree, in your opinion, would allow me to practice nursing on a greater, far-reaching scope? Keep in mind, East Africa has some of the highest fertility rates in the world, and consequently, pediatric nursing may be a more useful degree in a country where 50% of the population is children.
Although I have listed these specific interests of mine, I am no expert in the area of administering healthcare to third-world countries. Please, if you have knowledge or expertise in the matter, tell me how I can be most serviceable to those who need it most.
Thank you all for your opinions and insight. You will undoubtedly help shape my future as a nurse. God bless.
In Him alone,
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- Jan 30, '12 by BluegrassRNBSNs are nearly universally accepted by aid agencies, and so are advance practice degrees in nursing.
Personally, I would go with the FNP. Aid agencies will put you where the need is greatest, and many times you will be wearing multiple hats: you might be placed at an orphanage, but it may also run the only health care clinic available, you will see people of all ages for health care. Or you may work mornings at an orphanage, and afternoons at a prenatal clinic. The political situation in your area may quickly deteriorate, and you may be pulled from your orphanage and dropped into a hospital medical ward in a nearby area.
As an advance practice nurse, you will probably be expected to have many administrative duties in addition to providing care: organizing other volunteers, organizing the actual building of your clinic or orphanage site, dealing with groups, creating and monitoring your budget, etc. You also may be the only practitioner in the area, and may be called on to do things that would be outside of your scope in your home country (it depends upon the aid organization and the laws of the country in which you are practicing). I know of BSNs who have gone on mission trips and ended up delivering babies, setting bones, suturing lacs...things you would not expect nor be allowed to do here as a basic nurse. With that in mind, I would get some ER experience as an FNP, if possible, prior to leaving for your mission.
Do you have a specific organization in mind already? If so, check with them. If not, Doctors Without Borders, the Mennonite Central Committee, and the UNHCR: the UN Refugee Agency, and the Albert Sweitzer Foundation (with hospitals in Haiti and Lambarene) would be good starting points.
- Jan 30, '12 by hiddencatRNI second the FNP over the PNP. With the FNP you'll be trained in care throughout the lifespan, which includes children. Good luck to you- the work of Doctors Without Borders is one of the things that inspired me to go in to nursing in the first place. They have a pretty long minimum commitment so I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to work with them, but I do hope to do work abroad someday as well.
- Sep 30 by JonathanF99This is exactly what inspired me to pursue nursing. My dream is to help those who have no access to the luxury of a hospital.
- Oct 10 by chriso82Thank you Cameron, BluegrassRN and others. I'm so happy to have found this thread. I have been looking for international nursing positions in underdeveloped and underserved areas of the world throughout nursing school and found that I cannot serve without experience.
It is nice to hear like minded people and get renewed hope for my goals. Cameron you sound like the male version of me.
Yes, FNP with a strong emphasis on maternal health seems like the most needed knowledge base out there especially with the high maternal and infant mortality rates in these areas and the high incidence of fistulas and their complications. Trauma experience is definitely a plus also.
I also plan on pursuing an NP and some coursework in global health, some courses on tropical diseases would be great as well but those are hard to find in the U.S. Of course AIDs and TB knowledge would be helpful too.
I just graduated this summer and am trying to get a job to get the two to three years of experience that most organizations want from their nurses, which I understand. I just wish I could go the refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Kenya, Ethiopia and other right now and work there. It will happen, just have to be patient and not let the dreams, goals and passions fade away.
Anyway, thank you for this great post, I am rambling because I am excited to find this. Please lets keep each other posted so we can get out there and serve soon.