Peace corps


Hi all!

I have been working as a nurse for almost 2 years now on an orthopedic/surgical med/surg unit. I also just finished my BSN. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to volunteer in the Peace Corps, even before I realized I wanted to become a nurse. I am not married nor have any kids, but I have been in a serious relationship for 5 years. I really enjoy my job, however, I know I want to pursue a graduate degree in public health and hopefully work for the government in community health issues.

I believe doing work for the Peace Corps can definitely help me realize if this is what I really want to do. The reason I became a nurse was to educate and promote good health to communities, especially under developed communities. I am also aware that as a nurse in PC, I will not be utilizing my nursing skills, which may be a problem when I return to look for a job as a nurse. I don't mind not utilizing my nursing skills, since I really actually enjoy educating and promoting health, which is probably what I would be doing.

I would appreciate any feedback and advice from any of you who have completed service in PC with a nursing degree. Also, how difficult would it be to get a job when I return, since the service is 27 months? Is it worth it quitting my current job?



2 Posts

Hi lauralg!

I was a Peace Corps volunteer directly after my undergraduate degree about 20 years ago and am now a nurse - also about 2 years old! You and I have essentially the same list of goals for our nursing careers. I've done a TON of research into this and would love to chat with you more. I'll see if I can summarize a few things here, but I would also encourage you to contact me directly. (not sure of the etiquette for this - do I need to post my personal email address?)

First, you seem to have a correct understanding of the type of work you would do as a PCV. You would most likely not be doing any clinical nursing, but you could definitely do some public health-related things. Especially if you go into your application process with this stated intention. As an aside, I loved my experience in the PC - though it included a lot of personal struggles as well as fun and accomplishment - and I applaud your sense of service. Peace Corps is a great entry into international development as it emphasizes understanding and respect of local culture and resources over paternalistic imposition of outside beliefs. (not to get too philosophical)

Second, if you are considering an advanced degree in nursing at some point, know that you can join Peace Corps Response's medical program Global Health Service Partnership once you have an MSN. (Though you will be a more competitive candidate if you have been a "regular" PCV, or volunteered with another organization overseas first)

If you want to start steering your career toward overseas development (exactly as I do and am), it is wise to think in terms of volunteering first. It is extremely difficult to land a paying overseas job in development without some experience. And volunteering is the best way to do this. Peace Corps is a fantastic choice, provided you're ready to leave the life you have for a couple of (rewarding) years. Regarding your relationship-know that if your partner is interested in joining PC as well, you will only be placed in the same location if you are married. (I was in PC with two different couples who married simply for this reason and are still happily married 20 years later)

If you want instead to try something shorter term, there are a gazillion options as well, you'll just have to do more work in researching them and be willing to pay for the experience. (Peace Corps will cover all expenses for you. At least they did 20 years ago!) I was in India this spring with the organization Unite for Sight (check them out online), and several years ago I volunteered for 6 months for a small organization called Flying Medical Service in Tanzania. (I may be able to put you in touch with someone there) In addition to gaining fabulous experience, you will also make a ton of contacts when you volunteer/work overseas. Which will then help you with your next move.

I'll stop there. I'm new to Allnurses, so I'll just attempt to check back here if you want to get in touch with me. (though I'm sure there's some better way to do that if I were more savvy about this site!) Plus, as I am trying to work overseas too, you may have good connections or ideas for me as well!

Lots of luck


7,735 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

To WorldRN333 - DO NOT post your personal email address here. This is still public social media and you don't want the knuts out there having your address. After you post some 15 decent length comments here on AN, you get limited Private Message privileges and you can contact OP. Your response to the thread was very interesting & informative.

OP - you'll have to have the 15 posts too so you can PM WorldRN33. It doesn't take too long to reach 15 posts as you sail around the site here. If something catches your interest, respond.

Just FYI - I have no volunteer experience. I'm just guessing that you've heard of an organization, Doctors Without Borders??? It's a volunteer organization too. I learned about it here on AN and googled a while back for info. It's another option.

Does anyone remember an old organization VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America)? It was big in the '60s or so. I'd have to look that one up.

Good luck on your future endeavors.

Op's post was from June, Hope she still checks in to followup.


2 Posts


Thanks for your post and the info! I appreciate it.

A little info about the organizations you mention: Doctors Without Borders is a very well known, respected name in international development. I don't know a lot about the terms of service with them, but I do know that the first time you do something with them you have to commit to a 9 month contract and it is "unaccompanied", meaning they don't pay to have spouses/families accompany you. It's a great option for someone without a family! (after doing your first gig with them, you have more options. Keep in mind this is a paying job, not volunteer)

Vista/AmeriCorps is also a long standing, well respected name in development, though that program works exclusively in America. I have a friend who did that and enjoyed it, but I don't know much about the organization myself.