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How To Volunteer Abroad As A Nurse

How to volunteer abroad as a Nurse

Nursing volunteers are high in universal demand, particularly in developing countries, where the need is great and the appreciation for international expertise is even greater. International Volunteer HQ offers nursing programs abroad for both students and professional nurses, allowing you the opportunity to give back to developing communities, while engaging in a cross-cultural exchange and gaining invaluable experience unobtainable from a lecture hall. When nursing abroad with IVHQ, you will always be in the company of like-minded medical students and professionals from around the world, and our in-country team will ensure that you are well supported throughout your international nursing placement. If you're looking to organize a group of volunteer nurses to travel abroad with you, we make that easy to arrange also!

With nursing volunteer abroad opportunities available in over 16 countries, keep reading to discover how to volunteer abroad as a nurse with International Volunteer HQ in 2016.

What are the requirements to volunteer as a nurse abroad?

International Volunteer HQ offers affordable volunteer nurse abroad programs for nursing students, as well as projects for qualified nurses. If you're an aspiring healthcare professional, we also offer nursing volunteer opportunities abroad for pre nursing students.

If you're seeking international nursing experience in a specialized field, you can contact an IVHQ Volunteer Program Consultant at IVHQ to help select a project that aligns with your area of expertise. The areas of speciality available include pediatrics, midwifery, gynecology, orthopedics, speech therapy, dentistry, paramedics, emergency medicine, nutrition, public health, radiology and HIV/AIDS support.

The scope of volunteer work depends on each volunteer's specific experience and qualification levels, and you will have the opportunity to exchange knowledge and cross-cultural learnings with local healthcare professionals, as well as other international volunteers.

What are the benefits of volunteer nursing abroad?

Both students and professional nursing volunteers are appreciative of the invaluable first-hand experience and cross-cultural exchange that they gain while assisting local doctors and nurses at their placements abroad. With nursing placements in Africa, Asia, South America and Central America, IVHQ gives you the opportunity to volunteer across a range of healthcare settings and the chance explore your career path further, while gaining a greater understanding of where your professional passions lie. In addition to hospitals and medical clinics, IVHQ nursing volunteers have the opportunity to work within special education schools, elderly homes, and centers for those living with HIV/AIDS. Wherever you are volunteering, you can feel confident that these placements share a genuine need for nursing assistance and offer invaluable hands-on experience for nursing volunteers looking to expand their global medical perspective and develop their skill sets. While volunteering abroad offers an important learning experience for nursing students and professionals, the healthcare knowledge and experience that volunteers can share with their placements is equally valuable. 

"As nursing students, we learned so much with the projects! It's unbelievable that as a group we helped over 1,000 Peruvians. The project was more than I could have ever imagined! I came back a more confident nursing student because of the IVHQ program." - Rebecca Sackman (IVHQ Nursing Volunteer)

Volunteer abroad nurse in Peru with IVHQ

What nursing volunteer opportunities abroad are available?

Volunteers who are fully-qualified nurses or doctors, as well as students who have completed their second year of nursing or medical school, are eligible to join IVHQ in India (Delhi), Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City), Nepal, Laos, Ghana, Tanzania, Bali, Peru (Lima and Cusco), Costa Rica, Argentina, Guatemala and Uganda. 

Pre nursing students or nursing/medical students at any point in their studies can gain medical experience in a variety of settings on IVHQ's medical volunteer projects in India (Delhi), Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh), Tanzania, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Argentina, Bali, and Peru (Cusco).

In these destinations, nursing and medical students can expect to support a range of tasks, working across a variety of healthcare settings. This can include providing basic patient care, taking vitals, dressing wounds, triage nursing, and helping to prepare medical equipment. There are also opportunities to observe local doctors and nurses in operating rooms, as well as shadow their daily routines.

Examples of nurse volunteer opportunities with IVHQ include:

Healthcare professionals such as EMTs, physical therapists and specialists can also volunteer on any of the above projects; however qualifications are assessed on case by case bases. Our IVHQ Program Managers will offer guidance as to which destination would be best suited to your interests and experience, as some of our programs offer opportunities specific to certain skills and medical specialties. We are committed to aligning your qualifications and interests with the needs of the local community in which our volunteers work.

"The staff at the clinic were very welcoming and definitely appreciated our help. In seeing the differences in healthcare around the world, it was really an enlightening experience." - Delaney King (IVHQ Nursing Volunteer)

Volunteer Nurse in Neap with IVHQ

How long can nurses volunteer abroad for?

IVHQ runs volunteer programs year-round and you can choose to volunteer abroad for durations ranging from 2 weeks to 24 weeks, so it’s easy to coordinate a volunteer trip that works with your schedule.

Why go nursing overseas with IVHQ?

We know that organizing a nursing placement overseas yourself isn’t easy or cheap. That’s why hundreds of nursing students turn to International Volunteer HQ to do all the organizing. IVHQ offers all-inclusive and affordable nursing placement opportunities that are budget-friendly and can be customized to suit your unique skills and experience with program fees starting as low as $180 for 1 week.

With over 9 years of experience in hosting volunteer nurses overseas, IVHQ specializes in taking care of all your pre-departure and in-country arrangements. We provide you with a nursing placement that meets your requirements and qualifications, while offering you a rewarding travel experience, as you are immersed in the local culture and community. We also arrange your airport pick-up, accommodation, meals and orientation, and provide you with access to 24/7 in-country support to ensure you're all set for your nursing abroad experience. Not only will you have the opportunity to learn about nursing in a global context while experiencing new cultures, healthcare systems, technologies and observing different conditions, you’ll be living and working alongside other international volunteers, and have the opportunity to travel with them during your free time. 

How do I apply for a nurse volunteer abroad program?

  • Browse our nursing volunteer opportunities and choose a destination and the project you wish to volunteer on, as well as the dates you wish to volunteer. 
  • Complete the free online application form with the details of your chosen program and dates. You will then receive an email confirming that IVHQ has received your application. Within 48 hours (2 working days), you will receive an email from your IVHQ Program Manager acknowledging your application and confirming the country, project and dates of your volunteer program. In this email, you will receive instructions on how to pay the US$279 Registration Fee in order to confirm your booking with IVHQ.
  • Log in to your MyIVHQ account to pay your Registration Fee. As soon as your Registration Fee has been received by IVHQ, you will be provided with all the information and support you need to prepare for your upcoming volunteer program. Your IVHQ Program Manager will be your point of contact throughout your preparations up until you finish your volunteer program.

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How can I join a medical campaign with IVHQ?

As well as the nursing volunteer opportunities mentioned above, IVHQ also supports Medical Volunteer Campaigns for groups of nursing students or professionals. Volunteers joining medical campaigns are given the opportunity to collaborate with our in-country teams to run campaigns from Monday through to Friday, with weekends and evenings free for exploration, cultural activities, and adventures like zip-lining through the cloud forests of Monteverde in Costa Rica, or setting off on safari in Tanzania. The possibilities are limitless and the volunteer work is mutually rewarding.

IVHQ recently hosted a group of nursing students from Florida in Guatemala who were involved in a week-long medical campaign, introducing basic nutrition and hygiene to local communities in Antigua. The nursing group were involved in setting up stations for washing hands, taking vitamins, brushing teeth, and providing check-ups with the support of a local doctor. During the campaign, the nursing students visited a variety of locations throughout Antigua, providing healthcare to childcare centers, HIV/AIDS support centers, and elderly care homes.

"Our project was a perfect integration of basic sciences and clinical medicine, and it also allowed for the group to see preventative and diagnostic medicine. It was exactly what we were looking for as 1st/2nd year medical students. The hands on experiences that we were able to participate in are priceless and will be held dear to everyone on the trip." - Madison Bangert (American University of the Caribbean, School of Medicine: Latino Medical Student Association)

A volunteer nurse abroad in Tanzania with IVHQ

How can I volunteer with a group of my nursing friends?

We are proud to have hosted a large number of university volunteer groups over the past 10 years, and we have a specialized IVHQ Groups Team who provide interested group leaders with all the information and support they need to register for one of our volunteer programs. For groups of over 10 or more members, we can also help you in building a customized group itinerary, or organize a medical campaign for you to support. We'll guide you and your group through the application process, from start to finish, and ensure that you and your group are prepared for your volunteer trip. Learn more about group volunteer opportunities here, or contact our Groups Manager, Kirsty, (groups@volunteerhq.org) to chat about your group trip plans.

We encourage prospective nursing and medical students to consider the possibilities and take a chance to expand their horizons in healthcare and world travel!

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