An increasing number of nurses are seeking nursing opportunities abroad. Presently, an overseas nursing volunteer has the chance to do a great deal more than just take someone’s temperature and administer vaccines. They have an opportunity to make a real difference regarding today’s pressing health care issues that affect patients abroad. Clinicians working with the education-centric organization Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) identify some of the main issues affecting global health and requiring medical volunteering of all kinds as being:
Dermatology: Skin problems affect between 21 and 87 percent of the population, which adds to a range of physical and psychological disabilities that greatly hamper a person’s quality of life. About 24 percent of primary care visits center on disfigurement and the discomfort of various skin issues. However, many developing countries have no skin care specialists. Nurses who seek nursing opportunities abroad can help educate local health care providers on how to address skin conditions they may normally overlook.
Safe Anesthesia: In many countries in Africa and Asia, very few trained physician anesthesiologists exist. Volunteer nurse anesthetists can assist by distributing teaching materials and directly educating students overseas. Their efforts can help prevent future loss of life, such as patients bleeding to death or not getting enough oxygen from an anesthesia provider with inadequate training.
Proper Surgical Care: Surgial diseases around the world are increasing with large gaps developing between those who can and cannot access life- saving surgical care that prevents disabilities. Medical volunteering in particular volunteer nurses can provide essential assistance and education to health care workers to increase successful surgeries and post-operative care.
Trauma and Injuries: The World Development Report of 2011 (Conflict, Security and Development) highlights the impact of violence — estimating that more than 1.5 billion people live in countries where violent conflict not only affects their daily lives, but their health as well. The negative impact of violence contributes to overcrowded hospitals, where volunteer nurses taking advantage of nursing opportunities abroad can effectively assist with wound care, infection, loss of limbs, and rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that out of the 650 million people living with disabilities globally — 200 million are children. Of those living with disabilities worldwide, the WHO estimates 80 percent reside in low-income countries which lack access to suitable rehabilitation services. Since the WHO expects the number of people with disabilities to rise due to an ever-growing, aging population, volunteer nurses can help by developing and improving rehabilitation services in their host country through training and education.
Assist Impoverished Regions Recovering From Crisis or Disaster
Nurses gain a deep sense of importance when volunteering in a country experiencing the greater need for medical services following a disaster or crisis, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and famine. Organizations, such as Nurses with Purpose, work with local authorities, existing health care workers, and other groups to provide services and health care around the world.
Many nurses want to be a part of disaster relief teams. There are times when disasters hit and nurses would love nothing more than to help those communities.
Educate Impoverished Communities
Volunteer nurses seeking nursing opportunities abroad have the chance to take on the role of educator. They not only teach communities about issues that can affect their health, but also instruct international nurses how to enhance the quality of health care they provide to patients. They may introduce updated techniques or demonstrate advanced technology.
According to the Global Health Care Volunteering Trends report, there is a need for education on the part of organizations offering volunteer opportunities to nurses — as there are new areas that have an overwhelming need for healthcare assistance. Historically, certain countries are primary targets for health care aid, which tend to attract the most interest in volunteers. As a growing number of possibilities become more available, it is the ideal time for nurses to reap the benefits of becoming an overseas volunteer as a way to enrich their career.
With thousands of opportunities to provide health care across the globe, volunteer nurses may consider short-term assignments (usually lasting one to three weeks) or long-term assignments that typically continue for at least one year. Wherever you wish to volunteer or for how long, know that the present is the perfect time to do so.