In addition to sharing several medical, dental, and nursing volunteer abroad opportunities, this article will also discuss global health volunteer and internship opportunities for physical therapists, paramedics, public health specialists, pharmacists, and midwives (along with students in those fields). Read on to learn how you can apply your medical training and skills to help people in developing countries who lack access to high-quality healthcare.
Volunteer Abroad as a Health Student or Professional
Are you seeking a volunteer opportunity like no other? If you’re a medical professional or a student aspiring to become one, consider putting your compassion and skills to work for people with limited access to quality healthcare.
In addition to general medical, dental, and nursing volunteer projects overseas, this article also discusses medical volunteer abroad opportunities for paramedics (EMTs), midwives, pharmacists, and public health professionals. If you’re a pre-medical, pre-dental, or nursing student, we also recommend checking out these healthcare volunteer abroad opportunities.
Volunteering in healthcare or medicine is no exception. It provides opportunities to expand your skills as well as the ability to serve others who might not have reliable medical care.
Health and medical care volunteer placements such as those offered by organizations like International Volunteer HQ usually start from one or two weeks, and can vary from basic tasks such as first aid or administering vaccines in small, rural clinic, to a shadowing doctors and nurses as an observer in a large, urban hospital. Interning in medicine and midwifery with Projects Abroad is an ideal way to gain work experience while you help people in poorly resourced institutions and hospitals in the world.
From observation, to direct care, to education, there’s no shortage of healthcare volunteer programs worldwide. And experience is not always a requirement: many volunteers are students, or considering entering school for a health or medical-related degree.
For example, volunteering abroad with Love Volunteers put Candice, a college student, in situations ranging from pediatrics (observing children receive antibiotic), to surgery (observing bone-setting to amputations) to obstetrics (witnessing live births and C-section deliveries). Her final week as a Love Volunteer in a Honduran hospital and her immersion in labor and delivery motivated her to choose nursing in obstetrics as a career path.
All the doctors and nurses I observed were all so open to teaching me about what I was seeing,” Candice said as a testimonial for Love Volunteers. “They often would tell me to come closer and proceeded to explain exactly what was going on. The people there were so approachable and patient, allowing me to gain so much more knowledge from this experience.
Candice’s experience is typical of volunteers in the medical field, whether one is a professional or a student. The need for assistance is urgent and a volunteer with willing hands lightens the load for overworked doctors and nurses.
If you’re interested in healthcare overseas, many volunteer programs need hands-on help in the following areas:
- Conducting patient interviews and building patient histories
- Taking vital signs
- Observing procedures conducted by local medical staff, including ENT examination, prenatal care, vaccinations, and more
- Presenting patient information to medical staff for differential diagnosis and proposed treatment
- Conducting public health screenings and health discussions to prevent the spread of HIV
Volunteering in healthcare can benefit both the host community and the volunteer. Many medical professionals consider volunteering abroad as the perfect way to do what they love in a new environment.
Doctors, nurses, and other specialists look to volunteering for the personal interaction and for the challenge of helping underserved people. Graduate medical students and undergraduate pre-medical students look to volunteering for hands-on experience and guidance.
Regardless of your educational or professional status, medical and healthcare volunteers (including paramedics and other trained first responders!) are desperately needed in many countries where medical expertise is difficult to obtain. If you don’t have any medical training or qualifications, then we highly recommend Agape Volunteers’s HIV prevention project in Kenya. As part of this project, you will have the opportunity to earn your HIV Training and Counseling certification, a valuable qualification to anyone interested in pursuing a medical career.
Read on to find just a few of the many health and medical volunteer opportunities available worldwide!