Medical Missions Trips?

Nurses General Nursing


I don't recall seeing this on any of the boards so I hope I am posting it in the right place..........One thing I really want to do, once I am licensed,(just graduated) is go on a medical missions trip somewhere for a short time, maybe a few weeks. I was wondering if anyone on here got to experience this first hand, what you liked or disliked and would you recommend a certain group that was great to go with? Thanks! :)

For medical missions, they are going to require that you have at least two years of experience in the area that you wish to volunteer for. It will be very different on the trip, and you will have to make do with what is there, very different from your work here in the US.

Your training as a nurse is only going to begin when you actually start working. School only gave you the basics. Once you start, you will see what we are talking about.

Most medical missions are usually going to provide they would require OR experience, as well as PACU experience. Fluency in the language of that area is another plus.

Specializes in Nurse Scientist-Research.

I can tell you about my limited experience. I grew up on the mission field and when I chose to be a nurse I wanted to contribute to missions. From the research I did it's not that easy for your standard med-surg nurse to get involved in medical missions. I know for sure in the mission my parents work for there is no real place for them at least in the role as a nurse.

I was able to go on a medical mission. My parents work as missionaries for the Assemblies of God and they have a division called "Healthcare Ministries". There are several reasons I was able to go on a missions trip with this organization:

1. My parents work for the Mission and help with these clinics as translators.

2. I speak Portuguese and can "fake" my way through Spanish.

3. I was willing to do something slightly out of my field (I worked basically as a pharmacist).

My duties were to package up the appropriate number of pills or appropriate amout of liquid medication and explain to the patient (parent) how to take the medication. I know this isn't in the scope of practice of an RN in the USA, I know. . . but we were doing good and the strongest stuff we were passing out was some oral antibiotics. It was a great experience, we took a rickety little boat up and down a river between Brazil and Paraguay and held little clinics at the villages along the River.

My understanding from chatting with some of the workers who go on medical missions frequently that the only nurses that are used are Advanced Practice Nurses such as Nurse Practicioners. They use mostly MD's, PA's, Dentists or NP's as well as Pharmacists and sometimes Opticians. Also they could use people who could translate to the native language (another missionary kid I knew got to go and he was/is a respiratory therapist but functioned mostly as a translator).

Now from investigating other missions my understanding is that nurses can contribute in missions but they must be very versatile and help with births and first aid/minor trauma. Then they function basically as Advance Practice Nurses.

I've done it a few times as a surgical tech. Once to Mexico and once to Africa.

I had done missions trips and humanitarian trips before I became a tech as a plain 'ole volunteer. The group I was went with were happy to have someone along who would not get way laid by culture shock.

In addition to the normal duties in surgery, I worked on the wards and in the immunization clinics.

It has always been an awesome and humbling experience each time I go.

WOw, all these sound great and promiseing. I am also Assemblies of God and will look into them. Thank you for all your answers and I am sorry to hear about your loss. We don't know why things happen here on earth sometimes but know that God is with us always when it does happen. Good luck to you and if it's meant for you to go back, I know he will give you the strength and courage to do it again! Thanks again!

My NS offers a medical mission trip once a year for one of our clinicals. They make the arrangements, we have to cover the extra expense. Since I am committed to future work on mission trips, I am signed up for this clinical next May.

Thank you! It has been a very hard tearful battle, and if it were not for God I would not have made it. My story goes way beyond what I have told you, but I am in the midst of the storm right now. I know he is my provider and he has already made ways for my bills to get paid that I would not have thought would be done. I have an interview today at a local hospital and I pray his will be done. I have a glowing resume and referneces, so it is the only thought I have to think I am being taught something about patience and where my help comes from. I will let everyone know how I did today and if I don't get it, there is a reason and another way!

Hi guys,

A friend of mine sent this to me today. I met when we were tikes during my parents days travelling the world. Her parents were missionaries. I was nodding my head 'cause so many of them fit.




You can't answer the question, "Where are you from?"

You speak two languages, but can't spell either.

You flew before you could walk.

You embarrass yourself by asking what swear words mean.

You have a passport, but no driver's license.

You watch National Geographic specials and recognise


You have a time zone map next to your telephone.

You don't know how to play Pac-Man.

You would rather eat seaweed than cafeteria food.

Your life story uses the phrase "Then we went to..." five


You speak to different ethnic groups in their own language.

You think in grams, metres, and litres.

You speak with authority on the quality of airline travel.

You send your family peanut butter and Kool-Aid for


You worry about fitting in, and wear a native wrap around

the dorm.

National Geographic makes you homesick.

You have strong opinions about how to cook bugs.

You live at school, work in the tropics, and go home for


You don't know where home is.

Strangers say they can remember you when you were "this


You have friends from or in 29 different countries.

You do your devotions in another language.

You sort your friends by continent.

You keep dreaming of a green Christmas.

You tell people where you're from, and their eyes get big.

You are grateful for the speed and efficiency of any postal


You realise that furlough is not a vacation.

You wince when people mispronounce foreign words.

You've spoken in dozens of churches, but aren't a pastor.

Furlough means that you are stuffed every night... and have

to eat it all to seem polite.

Your parents decline your cousin's offer to let them use his

BMW, and stuff all six of you into an old VW Beetle instead.

You stockpile mangoes.

You know what REAL coffee tastes like.

The majority of your friends don't speak English as a first


Someone brings up the name of a team, and you get the sport


You believe vehemently that football is played with a round,

spotted ball.

You know there is no such thing as an international


You know the difference between patriotism and nationalism.

You realise what a small world it is, after all.

You never take anything for granted.

You watch a movie set in a foreign country, and you know

what the nationals are REALLY saying into the camera.

You know how to pack.

All preaching sounds better under a corrugated tin roof.

Having four distinct seasons other than: dry, very dry,

rainy, very rainy, is a new experience.

After a couple of years in one spotm, you're ready to move


You frequently say, "I don't know, I was out of the


You feel uncomfortable in school without a uniform.

School gets cancelled due to flash flooding.

Tropical fruits aren't imported.

Walking miles to and from school is "normal."

If someone asks what school you went to, you reply, "depends

on the year."

You are afraid to ask what you are eating. But munch away,

with a smile on your face.

Current plan is for this clinical to be in some remote part of Chile - that is all I know right now. My advisor recruited me last semester - she knew I adopted my daughter from Nepal and the hardships and obstacles I had to overcome while there - and thought this would be "perfect." (LOL - they only recruit older, traveled students who have a record of "hardship.)

I turned around and recruited 2 more students that I would love to share a month of this with...

To this day I don't talk much about my Nepal trip - have suffered depression and PTSD from it. But do not regret for a minute that I did it. But I do know that I saw firsthand what lack of medical care can do for a population and vowed if I ever rec'd training I would work w/ the underserved, both in US and abroad. My daughter's b-mom died from complications of childbirth - no doctor or nurse at all - not to mention elec., running water, etc., etc.


It is so wonderful to see so many people willing to help out hose in need both here and abroad.

I went for my interview today and the charge nurse really liked me, she told me to come back on Aug 8th after her supervisor's vacation was over and they could talk with me more but that they really liked me and think I would be a good team memeber! YEAH!! Thanks for all the encouragement and prayers!! God is good and HE WILL SEE me through!! Through Christ all things are possible!!

Specializes in Pediatric ICU.

I'm so excited to see there was a thread on this subject. I am going on a medical missions trip this November with some folks from my church. I'm a pre-nursing student and will be helping out where-ever they need me. I'm hoping to make what I've learned in the books come alive.

There will be three docs and three nurses and 8 support staff (that's me!) Medical missions is exactly why I have gone back to get my RN.

I could relate to many of SunnyJohn's entry on what it's like to be a missionary kid. I'm a former military wife (he's retired now) and we moved just about every 2 years--including 7years overseas with much travel involved. There's nothing like living in an overseas location.

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