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Volunteer overseas on worthwhile and sustainable programmesVolunteer Overseas

Volunteer Nursing Overseas

A Projects Abroad volunteer on a Nursing project overseas in Mexico listens to a child’s heartbeat

A Nursing volunteering experience offers participants the unique opportunity to gain valuable work experience whilst also providing much-needed medical care to underprivileged communities. This is nursing in a very different environment, its challenges and opportunities are sure to improve the skills and perspective of those volunteering.

Open to practicing nurses and students at all levels, an overseas nursing placement allows you to further your career, network with likeminded students from across the world and broaden your horizons in a new country.

What can a Nursing Volunteering Project with Projects Abroad offer me?

A Projects Abroad Nursing volunteer talks to a patient at a hospital overseas in Nanyuki, Kenya

  • Use your skills to help others
  • Put theory into practice
  • Work alongside local professionals
  • Mutual learning – share skills and knowledge
  • Gain insight into developing world health
  • Experience clinical & community placements
  • Gain a different perspective of the nursing profession.
  • Challenge yourself personally & professionally
  • Immerse yourself in a new culture

Where are Nursing Volunteering Projects offered?

Projects Abroad offers a wide array of nursing placements available throughout the developing world. The placements are designed to be safe, supported and structured; giving you the chance to make a positive impact and form a genuine connection to the community you work in.

Nurses and nursing students possess unique skills which translate in a large variety of settings; you could work in a rehabilitation centre in Nepal, a leprosy mission in Ghana or a rural outreach programme in Tanzania. You will be exposed to radically different resources, conditions and techniques and learn first-hand how to manage these challenges, broadening your skills while being a useful part of the local team.

You can choose your volunteering destination from the following countries:

• Clinical Placements

A Projects Abroad Nursing volunteer examines a Mexican patient during her placement work overseas

There is a great variety in the placements open to nursing volunteers. The clinical settings may be hospitals, large or small, in the middle of the city or on the edge of the bush. The clinical placements force you to think about your profession in a very different context; the resources available, the codes of practice, and the conditions the patients present will all be far removed from your own experiences. Wherever you work, clinical placements are of great educational value.

• Community Placements

Alternatively, many nursing volunteers choose to work in a more community-based setting. They may work with children affected by HIV/Aids in Nepal, with children living on the streets in Senegal, in a child development NGO in Vietnam or on health education programmes in Ghana. These placements not only give an opportunity to put your nursing skills to good use, but also to make a connection within the community and to better understand people’s lives.

"During my six week placement at Mt Meru Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania, I worked in various departments including; the infectious diseases ward, paediatrics and neonatology. As a nursing student, I wanted to observe and learn from the staff and, if permitted, to demonstrate some of my skills. Eventually I was able to prove my abilities and gain some hands-on experience. I learnt a great deal about the medical side of the patients, however, it was the caring aspects that had the greatest impact on me. I became a part of the local team by appreciating their knowledge and accepting that things are done differently in Africa; allowing me to build strong relationships of mutual learning. I learnt a lot about myself during my placement and it affirmed for me that I have chosen the right career path."

Amy M, SA, Student

What kind of Nursing work will I be doing?

Projects Abroad Nursing volunteer assesses a young boy at his placement overseas in Mongolia

Your role will vary according to your destination, placement, experience and interests. Each placement differs in terms of supervision and guidance, the conditions of the patients, medical techniques and resources available. You will learn first-hand how to manage these differences in a challenging global health context.

As a volunteer, you will shadow local doctors, nurses and midwives, sit in on consults, do rounds, and observe procedures. The chance to gain hands-on experience is at the sole discretion of your supervisor, but being proactive, enthusiastic, culturally aware and willing to build good relationships with the doctors, nurses and patients will significantly increase your chances of gaining practical experience.

Projects Abroad Nursing volunteers at their placement overseas in Mongolia

Many student nurses get the opportunity to prove their skills and learn new procedures beyond theoretical practices; giving them lasting perspective for their careers ahead. For qualified nurses, the placements provide an environment of mutual learning – sharing their knowledge with the local professionals, whilst learning to become more resourceful.

During a Nursing Project, you will witness the disparity between the standards of medical practice in the developed and developing worlds. The hospitals, clinics and centres that we work with are often vastly under-resourced, forcing local professionals to use very different treatment methods. With limited funds to pay for routine medical treatment, many patients will have advanced illnesses and conditions that would rarely be seen in the developed world. You will also encounter highly dedicated medical staff who are committed to their jobs, despite difficult working conditions and limited resources.

“The clinic I spent one month in comes under the auspices of Research and Training Centre for Community Development and is being established to assess the growth and development of children in Vietnam. The overall emphasis is on health education and preventative care; the clinic is the first of its kind in Vietnam. My days followed a general pattern – a morning presentation on a specific age and stage of child development, and in the afternoon, a practical session with a child and their family, followed by a general discussion. I was always overwhelmed at the interest shown by the families. The days were extremely busy, but it was very exciting to be involved in the initial stages of such an ambitious project.”

Diane S, VIC, Child Health Nurse

Nursing project destinations:


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