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Volunteer Nursing Abroad

Updated on August 7, 2014

International Medical Volunteer Opportunities

Use your skills to help communities in need.

Low income communities in are often unable to provide or have the resources available to effectively give adequate health care to children or adults.

There are a number of volunteer opportunities available for medically qualified nurses and doctors aswell as medical students.

What type of experience do I need to have?

Each project varies on the type of skill and qualifications needed to join and volunteer in the program. You may not need to have any experience to join the Disabled Childrens progam in Peru for example.

Some background in HIV/AIDS and basic health care is required is required for the Kenya HIV/AIDS project, and fully qualified doctors, nurses and other health professionals can participate in other Medical/Health programs.

Philippines Volunteering
Philippines Volunteering

Philippines Rural Health Clinic

Opportunities are available for qualified doctors and nurses aswell as medical students or those skilled in healthcare areas.

Day to day clinic activities will range from assisting the local doctor with daily consultations to helping with local government based initiatives such as vaccinations or deworming. Aside from this, volunteers may also have the opportunity to visit local barangays during community clinic consultations.

Medical/Health Project in Kenya

Malaria, typhoid, pneumonia, and tetanus are treatable diseases, yet many still die in Kenya as a result of not receiving proper medical care. Government-run hospitals and medical clinics are ill-equipped to handle the volume of people in need of care.

As a medically qualified volunteer you can help by sharing your medical skills and working alongside local staff to provide those in need with basic medical care. Volunteers have the opportunity to work in the areas of general medical practice, maternal health, minor surgery, and laboratory work. This role is suitable for self-directed, caring people who are medically qualified.

What to expect

Volunteers will work with local staff to assist with the daily duties. This could involve patient consultations, recording patient history, diagnosing medical conditions, prescribing medication, applying dressings, minor surgeries, and counseling patients. Volunteers have the opportunity to work in the areas of general medical practice, maternal health, minor surgery and laboratory work.

Although the type of work volunteers will perform is subject to the needs of the particular hospital, volunteers can expect to be working with limited medical resources and technology. Because of this volunteers will need to rely on being self-directed and use initiative.

Note: the type of work volunteers will perform is subject to the needs of the particular project they are placed at and their own experience and skills.


Volunteers can participate in either rural or urban areas. Program locations are in the surrounding suburbs of Nairobi city, including Dagoretti, Kibera, Rongai, Kahawa, Lower Kabete, and Wangige. Other locations are Limuru (40km from Nairobi), Ngong (50km from Nairobi), Olkajiado (60km from Nairobi), Nyeri (115km from Nairobi).

You can find out more about this project at

Kenya HIV/AIDS project

Kenya has been hit hard by the HIV/AIDS epidemic with approximately 1.25 million adults and over 100,000 children infected.

Volunteers have the opportunity to work in a community HIV/AIDS organization to assist with homecare visits to HIV positive people, and educate and counsel community and school groups and individuals.

Prevention efforts are essential to curb the increase of HIV/AIDS. Education is considered to be one of the best methods to reducing the rate of AIDS spreading. One of the most popular educational methods is known as the "ABC" approach. Its main message is: (A) Abstain from all sex. (B) Be Faithful to one or less partners. (C) Condomise. Use a condom if you have sex.

However, in many countries in Africa including Kenya, sex isn't discussed openly and is often regarded as a taboo subject, making it difficult to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS. Religion is often at the centre of the communities and may be a factor as to how sex education (including methods of contraception) is taught in the community. Many people have little or no access to magazines, leaflets, the Internet or family planning clinics, meaning the general population's knowledge of HIV/AIDS will consist of what their family may or may not have said and hearsay from their friends.

Furthermore, local witchcraft has sometimes started myths about HIV and AIDS, its spread and cure. For example, there is a belief in some areas that if a HIV positive man has sex with a virgin then he will be rid of the disease. Volunteers should sensitively address these beliefs without an air of superiority or self-righteousness, even if the ideas talked of seem impossible or incomprehensible.

The aim of the HIV/AIDS program is to decrease the spread of HIV through raising awareness and education, increasing access to homecare and providing emotional support to those affected by HIV/AIDS within the community. Volunteers have the opportunity to work in a community HIV/AIDS organization to assist with homecare visits to HIV positive people, education and counseling. Homecare visits give volunteers the opportunity to get out amongst HIV positive members of the community and give attention and care. You can help by providing encouragement and emotional support; massage therapy to help bedridden patients with their seized up joints; help with bathing and changing clothes; basic help with cooking, feeding and cleaning; and basic medical attention.

Volunteer in Rwanda
Volunteer in Rwanda

Rwanda Medical Program

For volunteers with experience, or studying towards a medical career we have opportunities based in local clinics in Rwanda. Activities vary and will be dependent on your skills. Some activities you may be involved with are patient consultation, general nursing, family planning, antenatal and postnatal care, nutrition, dispensing medication and keeping patient records up to date.

There may be opportunities to assist within the HIV/AIDS department testing blood, providing ARV distribution, counselling, and education. There may also be the option to assist with home based care.

This project is aimed at medical students in the final stages of studying towards their degree or qualified nurses and doctors. Documentation of your medical school, nursing school, or other medical credentials will be required.

To find out more about this program please visit us at

Healthcare Clinics in Costa Rica

There are 3 options to volunteer in Costa Rica

Healthcare - Medical

This project is for pre-med students,medical students and qualified doctors and nursed.

Volunteers work at a clinic for low-income families. Based on the needs of your project and your skills, you may take part in:

*Triage - taking weight, height, blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, oxygenation and pulse taking.

*Clinic Wards - making beds, cleaning, and talking with patients.

*Materials - preparing materials and sterilizing equipment.

*Administration- making transportation arrangements, managing patients' file information.

*Consultation - assisting doctors with physicals and giving injections and/or sutures.

*Health Campaigns - treating children in low-income communities, vitamin campaigns for HIV positive groups, taking medical histories and drawing blood samples.

Healthcare - Healthcare Education

In this project volunteers can provide companionship with those living in a residence for HIV positive people. You can also help at the on site clinic.

Opportunities are also available to provide care, assist with meals and distribute medications to those living in an assisted living facility. This is an extremely rewarding project where volunteers are greatly needed.

Occupational Therapy

Approximately 30 autistic individuals have access to a non residential centre to participate in activities designed to open their minds, develop their potential and grow their skills.

Volunteers will work with program coordinators to arrange and run workshops and classes in the following areas: knitting, cooking, horticulture, arts and music. They will also provide general help to the individuals attending the center carry out day to day functions, as well as helping with daily physical therapy activities. Volunteers may also help with seminars aimed at the families of the autistic adults to help them better understand and cope with the condition. Individuals attending the center have physical and mental disabilities of varying severity and need individual attention and care.

Also check out the medical projects in Peru

Special Needs in Vietnam

Volunteers have the opportunity to work with orphans, street children, and mentally/physically disabled children in a variety of different orphanages, schools, daycare and social support centres. Many children are parentless or have been abandoned as their parents cannot afford to provide for them. These kids need love, attention, education and life skills to ensure they have a future free from poverty. Volunteers are needed to assist by caring for babies, teaching basic English, arts 'n' crafts, music, sports, and healthcare. Volunteers will also have a chance to assist with physiotherapy at the disabled orphanages.

Special need: In the orphanages and support centres there are many children who suffer from mental and physical disabilities. There is a great need for qualified physiotherapists, occupational therapists, behavioral therapists, play therapists, doctors, nurses, and other professionals with medical qualifications. There is also a need for volunteers who know sign language or have artistic skills.

To find out more about this program visit our Vietnam Program page at

The Global Volunteer Network (GVN)

GVN serves you to arrange an affordable volunteer opportunity with peace of mind, finanical security, and is a great way for you to contribute to the global community, gain experience, and also fosters personal growth.

Our vision is to support the work of local community organizations in developing countries through the placement of international volunteers. We believe that local communities are in the best position to determine their needs, and we provide volunteers to help them achieve their goals.

The Global Volunteer Network has opportunities available through our partner organization in 21 countries. To find out more about these programs you can visit our website here

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