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Peace Corps - New Grad Nurse

jk<3 jk<3 (New) New

I am interested in volunteering for the Peace Corps and am a new grad nurse. For those nurses that have had the privilege to go and serve in other countries what advice would you have for me and how would you describe your experience during and after? I am aware the job market for nurses is competitive and do consider it important to keep up with my skills but nevertheless would love to incorporate both my passion for public service as well as my love for nursing. Join the workforce, god willing, or go straight into the Peace Corps? Would appreciate any feedback :D Thank you!!!

Edited by JustBeachyNurse

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education.

I have two colleagues that have done the 'volunteer thing' - one with Peace Corps the other one with Doctors Without Borders. Both were highly experienced (Peace Corps - OB & DWB - OR). I don't think that they accept newbies and have no process to accommodate any sort of training period for new grads. Maybe it's different now? You could get your feet wet by volunteering with the Red Cross or maybe your state has an emergency response system? In Tx it's called "Ready Texas Nurses".

Hi! I'm also a newly grad and interested in the Peace Corps. My Kaplan instructor had told me that they indeed accept new grads AND train them. I was wondering if you happened to get any more information on the subject?

I am in the process of applying to the Peace Corps and so I am reading everything I can find and would appreciate anyone else's thoughts.

Memol, to answer your question, (I am not a nurse—I am taking pre-reqs to return to school for an ABSN or direct-entry program), but my understanding is that the Peace Corps provides training, but not necessarily training to be a nurse abroad. They will train you to do whatever you are assigned to do—if you are assigned as a health volunteer (which would make sense) you could be doing any number of things and you may not know until you get there. I have heard that nurse Peace Corps volunteers do not feel like their nursing skills are utilized. (This is partly why I am thinking I should do it before nursing school, if I get placed in time).

The Peace Corps has also started accepting doctors and nurses for the Global Health Service Corps (Global Health | Global Health Service Corps), but they require experience. Check it out if you haven't!

Great post! I've also been researching information regarding New Grad RNs & Peace Corps. I'm about a year away from earning my BSN & I have two prior degrees in health-related fields. PC seems to be a *less traditional* track for new grads & I think it all comes down to what you want to do with your nursing career :) Blogs from current PCVs and returned volunteers (RPCVs) offer great insight into what a day in the life is like in Peace Corps. Of course all PC experiences are different, but I've found them to reaffirm a lot of the aspects that I find so important and fascinating about Peace Corps. Many PCVs and RPCVs utilize the Masters International or Coverdell Fellows programs offered through Peace Corps for graduate school education. The Health PCV positions on their website look amazing & some actually list being a current RN as a requirement.

PC is a thought that is always on my mind. I'm really interested in Latin America, Spanish language, global & public health, education / teaching, psychology, social services, and counseling. I gravitate towards the less hands-on, in the hospital, at the bedside, procedural components of nursing. In a nutshell: I've been advised to "get 1 - 2 years experience in a hospital / rehab to keep and build [my] nursing skills." I can get a little discouraged because I'm not sure that's 100% necessary in order to achieve the things I would like to do with my nursing career. I know it would definitely be a great learning experience, but what makes me nervous is hearing that without a more traditional New Grad RN experience "it will hurt me" in terms of future job prospects. I joke that if I'm lucky enough to land a coveted new grad residency spot on a med surg floor that after 2 years, I will then set off for the Peace Corps. What then...? :-/ Just seems like I would be putting off something that I would really love to do.

A good friend of mine just completed her first year with the PC. She is an RN with 3 years ICU experience prior to leaving. She is enjoying her experience however is a little concerned about being able to reenter the workforce when she returns. According to her she does a lot of patient teaching however she is not practicing as an RN while in the PC. From talking to my friend, It does not sound like it would be wise to spend 2+ years overseas in the PC without any nursing experience if your hope would be to work in the hospital setting when you return.

You don't have to work in the hospital setting. 2 years of experience in the peace corps will definitely open the door for a career in public health or non-hospital jobs.


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