peace corps


hello, I'm currently a pre-nursing student taking my requirements. I'll be submitting my application to join the nursing dept early next year. My question is, I want to join the Peace Corps, but will they take an RN that just graduated? Or would they prefer an experience of 2 years, 3 years, and so on? Which specialty should I focus on in order to be most helpful? On the site it says relevant experience would be in public health, midwifery, or physician's assistant, but I think I've also read on the forums surgery exp would also be good?

What's your opinion on doing Peace Corps for most of your life? As in, making that your career, living on a stipend. Is it unrealistic?

I'm really interested also in doing overseas/development/refugee nursing but so far I've only found that the majority (if not all) of aforementioned nurses do it on a volunteer basis. I would like to be able to do that as my job and not worry about coming up with the money for plane tickets and so forth. Are there any organizations that do that at all? Or can you recommend a similar field to me? Thank you!


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I'm currently in the peace corps, and knowege you gain as a nurse about disease processes would be very helpfull in a lot of the health programs. However i am uncertain if they have programs in other countries (i know they don't in mine) that would ...


32 Posts

use the majority of your clinical skills. However, not sure. Also the contracts for volunteers are typicaly 2 years. With an option to extent an extra one or two. I am personally really enjoying the experience, good luck. You might also want to check out


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VSO canada, doctors without borders(they need nurses too!) and some other orgs. Do a google search on volunteering overseas as a nurse and go from there - i have a link but can't post it. Sorry not trying 2 just up my post,can't go over # of charactors!


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Sorry just re reading over your posts and may have mis-read some things! As for stipend, i find what they give me here is enough to live on here, i've heard vso is a little higher,don't know about msf (doctors w/o borders) Let me know if this answers ur q


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that's funny that you have a word limit, is it a restriction from the allnurses forum itself? are you using quick reply?

Yeah, I was reading similar topics on here asking about Peace Corps and they seem to be very accepting of RNs with little to no experience, but using them in situations where their clinical skills aren't quite necessary, and focussing more on health education. =) which I don't have a problem with. Although, I'd like to be put into that situation, so I'm thinking I'll do 2 years of PC right after school, come back and get a year of experience, then go back to PC or apply to MSF.

I know you when you apply to PC your assignment will be for the next year, so you will have an inbetween waiting period. Do they let you make a new application while you're actually serving in PC? Or must you be finished first?

Yeah, as for asking if living on a stipend is unrealistic- I know that I wouldn't be able to save my way to millions off what they give me, but I was thinking about the idea of living on a stipend most of my life, and wondering if it was a silly idea. I suppose it's more a personal question than anything else though, about whether or not I'd be happy with that standard of living.

Thanks so much for your reply.


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whew on an actual computer now so i can write longer!

Sounds like a good plan to me :) plus PC will give you a taste if this kind of life is for you. There is tons of oportunities to live/work/volunteer abroad, a lot of NGO's working out here (at least in the southern africa region) that you can connect with to actually work. I'm sure you'll find your nich!

"Do they let you make a new application while you're actually serving in PC? "

They have a certain number of in country one year extentions and sometimes you can transfer to another program (we were offered a chance to extend to a new program that was opening up). this if of coarse competitive and you need to justify the need!

they also cover the plane tickets (though not if you want to visit in your 2 year contract)

sorry if i'm telling you things you already know :)

Personally i think new grads bring a tremendous amount of energy and inspiration with them! and then take back a tremendous amount of experience afterwards.

good luck :)


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Again, thank you so much for your responses, encouragement, and information. I really appreciate it. I can't wait until the day comes when I'll be leaving for PC, but I have a lot more research to do. Thanks, innumerably! Take care.


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Hi Biwa,

Well congratulations on your decision to choose such meaningful work. I am an RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer - I was in Central Africa about 10 years ago) and worked in international public health for several years after before recently returning to school to get a second degree in nursing.

Peace Corps is such a powerful, unique, and amazing experience and I highly recommend it to anyone with the will to make the commitment. As a trained nurse you will have a great deal to offer, however, as another poster mentioned, you will most likely not be actually doing clinical nursing - at least as part of your official job description. PC places volunteers in various broad categories (education, health, agriculture) where the main activity really is educating and working with local counterparts to build their own capacity. As a health volunteer, you will most likely work alongside village nurses and midwives and trained to do health education. Depending on your post, your counterparts - your distance from HQ :) - you may also have many opportunities to perform clinical skills, but you're really not supposed to b.c. of liability reasons.

Anyhoo - my point is not to discourage you. PC is great - nursing is great - and so necessary! - and the two are a powerful combination for finding work in international development (which is what it sounds like you want to do)

Good Luck!

jjjoy, LPN

2,801 Posts

so I'm thinking I'll do 2 years of PC right after school, come back and get a year of experience, then go back to PC or apply to MSF.

What kind of experience are you thinking of? Do be aware that it can be difficult to get a clinical nursing job without experience if you've been out of school awhile. So if you are truly interested in clinical nursing, it would probably be a good idea to get a hospital nursing job right out of school. Many people consider that first year of work as one's final and most important year of nursing school. Heck, even *with* experience, if one has been out of the hospital for several years and then decides to return, it can be difficult to be hired as facilities are generally wary of hiring nurses who haven't worked in that capacity for some time.

Keep in mind that a bulk of nursing education focuses on the acute care of patients in a modern, well-equipped hospital. And organizations that want licensed nurses (eg MSF) often want the hands-on, real-world clinical experience that the nurse brings, not just the background knowledge gained from a college degree. For most Peace Corp work and other community health work, a nursing license and clinical expertise *isn't* necessary. Thus, there may be other majors besides nursing that would suit your goals.

A nursing education does give an overview of the multitude of health issues across the life span and the BSN curriculum includes a public health rotation. So a nursing degree certainly has much to offer. And if you are interested in clinical nursing, a nursing license is a must! Just giving you some food for thought.

May your dreams come true!!

due to liability issues, a pcv generally can't practice their medical profession while a pcv. you could teach nurses or nurse educators, but you couldn't treat patients.

look into doctors without borders if you want to work as a nurse


Molly RPCV Ecuador


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Thanks for the info, I'll look into it.

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