Medical Missions

  1. I've been working as an RN for 1 1/2 yrs on a med-surg cardiac unit. Recently, I've been looking into medical missions, but have noticed many to be short-term volunteer missions only. I am currently interested in long-term career-like positions abroad in third world countries. Any suggestions for respectable organizations or methods for achieving this goal would be appreciated. Thank you!
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   JustBeachyNurse
    MSF/Doctors without borders.
  4. by   Jaxxbeback
    An option I have considered, unfortunately this organization requires 3yrs experience and leans more towards management/supervisor agendas. I'm looking for something a little more hands on, though thank you for the suggestion
  5. by   BonnieSc
    MSF does sometimes have hands-on work in emergency situations. However, most countries that hire American/British/etc nurses to go to developing countries do want administrators and educators rather than hands-on nurses, and for good reason: they have their own nurses to do the hands-on work, as it should be! That is a more sustainable model, and the nurses have the language and cultural competence to work well with their own people--not to mention that it provides them with jobs.

    1.5 years in the US is barely long enough to be an independently capable nurse in the US, in my opinion (notice how many travel nurse places will only accept nurses with two years of experience), much less to deal with the challenges of nursing in the developing world or to teach nurses there. I think the three years required by MSF should be the minimum length of time you'd consider, to be honest.

    My suggestion is to keep your ears open for opportunities or ideas, keep gaining experience in the US, and start studying French or Arabic. Go on short-term missions now if you like. Cardiac med-surg is fine experience, but you could also consider switching to OB, OR, or ER--specialties that are much in demand. (OR nurses are some of the few who generally keep doing the same job when they go abroad, rather than switching to management/teaching, though hopefully that is changing. But in short-term situations, experienced OR nurses from the developed world are the practical option.)

    Also, it doesn't pay anything--in fact, nurses have to pay a fee to work--but Mercy Ships has nurses doing nursing work in a US-type setting, but with patients from Africa, on the coast of various countries (I think they're in Madagascar right now). Those positions range from a couple of months to many months. If what you really want to do is hands-on work with African people, it might be worthwhile to save up and take a long sabbatical from paid hospital work in the US.
  6. by   amoLucia
    Peace Corps? Red Cross?
  7. by   JustBeachyNurse
    Peace corps isn't medical. Red Cross aside from current students need experienced nurses as the role is more case management than hands on
  8. by   BonnieSc
    Peace Corps does have a medical area now. It's fairly new. Global Health Service Partnership | Peace Corps
  9. by   JustBeachyNurse
    Quote from BonnieSc
    Peace Corps does have a medical area now. It's fairly new. Global Health Service Partnership | Peace Corps
    But a minimum of BSN with three years paid specialty nursing experience. So not yet appropriate for the OP. Interesting though
  10. by   amoLucia
    Mercyships.org

    A little late, but this group is running an infomercial now on TV. Staff are volunteers, I think.
  11. by   bigserg818
    Quote from amoLucia
    Mercyships.org

    A little late, but this group is running an infomercial now on TV. Staff are volunteers, I think.
    Yes, mercyships.org! I actually was considering it last spring but decided to pursue grad school instead. I spook with a representative at a conference and assignments ranged anywhere from 3-9 months. I've have done two short trips to Kenya and just got back from Guatemala late February.
  12. by   MsJacquese99
    I am not sure if you would also like to do medical mission trips that are religious, but here the only one that I actually know of. Plus they can help out with loan repayment, match 3% of 401K payments, and accept new grads.

    Adventist Mission
    Adventist Mission | Current Career Openings

    I hope that this helped. Good luck with your search.


    P.S. Once I become a nurse I want to go on career mission trips around the world with Adventist Mission.
  13. by   flutist
    I've been looking into mercy ships. I believe the shortest commitment is 2 months up to years. It is a faith based ship and it requires at least 2 years experience, with surgical or OR experience being an asset.
  14. by   fifita2010
    Operation Smile has 6-12 month positions in a cleft lip clinic in Assam( India).Do you have peds experience. You must have PALS.

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