Published Mar 23, 2005
Hi! Is there anyone out there who has experience with MSF? I'm looking for more information about the personal experiences of nurses - the web sites are good, but I'm sure that like all organizations there is a bias to their information. Thanks.
unknown99, BSN, RN
I do not have any experience, but I too am interested in joining Doctors Without Borders. I would love to go to some of the small villages in Mexico several weeks every year. I am glad to see someone else is interested.
I've been to Mexico several times with church-sponsored groups providing medical care. It's very rewarding as the people need so much and never complain. Then you come home and someone complains that their water pitcher is empty...slap! You can see some articles/pics on my website...in my profile.
Wow Randy! You are so right! I am going to look at your website as soon as I finish this board. My husband is from Mexico. We go every year or so to visit his family. I see so much in the way of illness and preventable things that it makes my heart ache. They have access to healthcare, but it is just that it is very unattainable for most of the people, especially in the smaller villages. They simply cannot afford it, and if they could, they could not get the transportation to get 50 miles away to the nearest doctor. His family lives in Coahuila state-- mostly in Sabinas and Barroterran, and a few in the little border town next to Eagle Pass, Texas.
I have not, but I have seen a book on them at b&n--so I looked them up on Amazon, and maybe you can buy them at Borders :) :) :)
Hope in Hell: Inside the World of Doctors Without Borders
Here's another one, the author of whom is MSF:
In the Shadow of "Just Wars": Violence, Politics, and Humanitarian Action
One of my instructors recently returned from a humanitarian medical group, I believe called "Interplast"; she there was another (whose name ended in "plast") and, also, Operation Smile. These groups do plastic surgery (actually "reconstructive" surgery) on children born with cleft palates and lips and patients with burns. She had a picture of one poor young man who had been severely burned and his face just looked like it had melted--had webbing between his head and his neck, between his thumb and forefinger and his thumb and his forearm. He'd been living in a basement with his Mom and would never go out.
Personally, I have a beef with MSF because they more-or-less took sides on the "Serbian" War, which I didn't think was their shtick. Red Cross, among other groups in that area, did not.
PS She works either as a recovery room nurse or as an educator when she does this.
Thank you all very much, and thank you Nurse First for looking those two books up for me. I have read Leanne Olson's A Cruel Paradise: Journals of an international relief worker (1999); she was a Canadian ER nurse who spent time in Bosnia and Africa. She and her husband left MSF and were very unhappy with this organization. I just thought that I'd try to get something that was just a bit more personal than propaganda if you know what I mean.
I'm not getting any younger, and somehow I want to do something that makes a difference beyond working in a country where people some how don't get it - we have an excellent health care system here, but somehow people feel entitled to so much more. We are so rich here in the west, and I have lived and travelled in countries that are so poor, that it would be good to go somewhere where clean water is not taken for granted, and no one gets distressed that there isn't enough ice in it. Thanks again for all of your comments.
icyounurse, BSN, RN
its good to see a thread like this. i am giving serious thought to joining the peace corps. mainly because i want to see some people with real problems, and maybe even make a positive contribution. i am having a hard time finding other nurses who have been in the peace corps stories. does anyone know anything about nurses in the peace corps? i sent off my app yesterday.
Your pictures are great! Makes me wanna do it even more!! What a great thing to be able to help those who need it most. That's what being a nurse is all about. Thanks for sharing the pictures!!
I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia (97-99). I wasn't a nurse at the time, but it was my experience there that sent me back to school to become one. It is a perspective changing experience to say the least.
Joining the Peace corps is great if you have 2 years to spare and don't have kids. Unlike MSF, they place you in stable areas of the world (although there are no guarantees). And, most likely you will be in a town/village by yourself so you will really get a taste of life in your host country. I'm sure your skills as an RN will be greatly appreciated.
If you don't want to spend that kind of time in another country, my friend (also a fellow RPCV and now an RN like me) told me about an organization where you can spend as little as a few weeks to a year or so providing medical care in various countries. It's called Catholic Medical missions or something like that. The website is http://www.cmmb.org. I think you can bring kids but I'm not sure.
Good luck in your decision making. MSF is a wonderful idea, but if it's your first time working in a developing country I would recommend first going with a smaller NGO or PC, just to get your feet wet.
zacarias, ASN, RN
Love this idea of volunteering in other places (Just saw 'Sometimes in April' and I'm barely recovering). Just one note on MSF. They generally put where ever there is a need and you decide you want to go. They don't take requests. If they need you in Sudan, you go. If they need you in Indonesia, that's where you go. At least this is how I understand it.
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