Medical Mission advice

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Hello Everyone! I have been an MICU nurse for 2 years now and I am really ready to go on a medical mission. I am taking a trip to Thailand in September and found a mission group called International Medical Relief that goes to Cambodia for 8 days. The cost to go on this medical mission is $4,700. That covers my stay (which is in a resort off base of the village we are going too that is usually $1,000 a night) my food, my travel around the area. That does not include my airfare because I opted to buy my own ticket because I am going to Thailand 2 weeks earlier before I go on the medical mission. Has anyone heard of this mission team? My friends who are fellow nurses who have gone on these mission trips said that is pricey however my living conditions make up for it. My grandfather is skeptical because he doesn't understand why I have to "donate" "pay" to go on the medical mission. His skepticism makes me nervous like I am being scammed but I have researched and they are a legit company that I know of. Can anyone offer any advice? Don't you usually have to pull forward a certain amount of money? Am I worried for nothing? Any advice or words of encouragement would be great!!

JustBeachyNurse, RN

1 Article; 13,952 Posts

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 13 years experience.

Try reading some of the threads in the "volunteer nursing" forum under nursing specialties. Paying your way to volunteer in medical missions is a way to permit the sponsoring organization to utilize funds for care & supplies rather than pay for volunteer staff. As you found they negotiate discounted rates for lodging and meals when possible. Look at doctors without borders website as they take certain nursing specialties. Volunteers pay their own expenses there also. As it's a widely known group that may allay your family's concerns.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

Welcome! Thread moved for bet response!

KelRN215, BSN, RN

1 Article; 7,349 Posts

Specializes in Pedi. Has 16 years experience.

I've had to pay for every volunteer travel experience I've ever done. It's how the organization is able to use its funds to provide services to the community, as JustBeachy says. Your cost is for your room and board. I've never gone on a trip that expensive but I've never stayed in a place that fancy on a medical mission either... usually it was in a house or, once, in an old drug rehab facility where we slept mostly in bunk beds with 4 people to a room.

bebbercorn

455 Posts

Specializes in Family practice, emergency. Has 10 years experience.

I have never paid for volunteer time except for the plane ticket... that being said, I usually go to volunteer abroad and find places out locally. As someone who has organized overseas volunteer trips, here is some advice if you'd like...

1) Research your organization! Some don't pay your donation forward. I have no issue paying if it goes to people in need as opposed to people lounging in a New York office. Ask what percentage goes towards "administrative" costs. Ask for old volunteers email. Research and try to network on a social network.

2) Thailand is not that expensive (been there several times since 2003) although it's getting there. Even for 50 bucks a night you will get a hotel room better than you will here. There are several volunteer opportunities on the ground there.

3) As other posters have suggested, check out responses in the volunteer section.

4) Try Non Governmental Organizations for short term openings, you might even get paid to volunteer. Have you considered Doctors without Borders or Peace Corps?

rninhonduras

6 Posts

I have traveled with IMR several times. They are a very reputable organization. They are bit pricey but you will be taken care of. I have done luxury tips and camping trips with them and had positive experience. I frequently tell people new to mission to start with IMR, then get braver and take on bigger experiences. I have done full time missions and am in the process of trying to return to Guatemala. Hope this helps.