Volunteering abroad- FNP vs PMHNP


Hi all

I'm in the very beginning of my (hopefully) long nursing journey.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about my interests and I'm thinking that two of them may be conflicting so I need some advice.

I know I love pysch. I work with people with ID who also have a lot of mental health issues. Helping them with their emotional problems is one of the more challenging parts of my job but it's also my favorite. I like having my patience and compassion tested because I love the feeling when I look back and think "wow that was a crazy situation but I handled it very well". I've even gotten good at forgiving myself and learning from the situations that I maybe didn't handle perfectly.

I also have realized that I need constant stimulation and I could really see myself loving a life of constantly moving from one place to another. I'm interested in travel nursing but I think I want to take it a step further and pursue whatever opportunities I'd be able to find volunteering abroad. However, most med professionals abroad seem more focused on primary care than psychiatric, so I'm wondering if maybe FNP is the better path for that. Or maybe getting my masters in FNP then certification in PMHNP.

Or maybe I'm completely off base here and have no idea what I'm talking about. Can anyone offer any advice/share any experience with any of this?


1 Article; 2,675 Posts

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 10 years experience.

There is a couple of FNP programs in the country which have specialization in rural healthcare. AFAIK, they prepare students well enough for humanitarian missions.

PMH NP is baseline useless anywhere outside of the USA and maybe Canada. The whole concept of mental health is completely different even in Western Europe, leaving alone the rest of the world and the range of meds not practically known anywhere else.

In many parts of the country there are seasonal clinics serving non-documented immigrants working in agriculture. There are also clinics and hospitals serving urban poor or areas with high concentration of immigrants. You may try to volunteer in such place to feel if it is your cup of tea or not. If nothing else, it is amazingly stimulating in terms of clinical experience. You will need to be fluent in Spanish, though.


21 Posts

That's actually perfect! Thank you for that.

I think I definitely want to get both cause as much as I want to use nursing to travel the world, my passion is still mental health.


1 Post

I am currently in PMHNP Program. I am looking for a preceptor in South Carolina, prefer eastern SC but I can commute. I have had a difficult time locating someone. Must be PMHNP, not an NP with psych certificate. Help locating someone is appreciated.


134 Posts

Has 17 years experience.

I just wonder why NP with certificate can not be preceptor? I think you should inform your program professor that you have a difficulty to find preceptor and then they will accept NP with certificate, MD/DO. Every program has paper forms , you should get this forms and look near your house where you are planning to work in the future as PMHNP. Your program professor will assist you.

Good Luck.


11 Posts

Ok dumb question...what is the difference? Do you mean they want an NP with a DNP? I thought PMHNP was the designation regardless of whether you have an MSN with psych post masters or a DNP...