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Is anyone aware of any international nursing opportunities in the vein of doctors without borders? I've found a group that's organized under that name but it's more focused on local community nursing, particularly care for older adults. I'm more interested in international outreach with opportunities for APNs.
I, too, have interests in this very area. THIS is the very reason I endeavor to attain my DNP. I look forward to hearing additional insight from our colleagues.
Sarah Luce, BSN, RN
I found an article that might be helpful "Catholic missions in the developing world". It describes the Global Health Ministry and all the volunteer opportunities they offer in Jamaica, Haiti, Peru, and Guatemala. They need nurse practitioners and health educators. The executive director, Pamela K. Hearn, states they need "leaders in basic health infrastructure, in-country leadership development, local health systems' strengthening and unified, sustainable approaches.
In essence, she is describing the DNP Essential II. Organizational & systems leadership for quality improvement & systems thinking. Bruce Compton describe how taxing it is when missionaries leave and the community leaders are left to provide care without the volunteers. The DNP Essential VI: Inter-professional collaboration for improving patient and population health outcomes will combat this dilemma. The DNP can act as a consultant to health care leaders abroad and offer guidance so community leaders are prepared when volunteers leave. The DNP has the power to increase awareness and support for health globally.
Compton, B. (2012). Catholic missions in the developing world. Health Progress:Journal of the Catholic Health Association of the United States. 83-89.
I have volunteered with the organization MEDICO and had an amazing experience. I am volunteering again with them this March. MEDICO does trips to Central America and they welcome APNs. I also would look into Project Helping Hands. They do longer trips to all different continents. The reason I prefer these organizations are they are not religious orientated.
Thank you for your information on MEDICO. I looked into it and am actually volunteering with them in April!
I have previously worked for and volunteered with a Christian organization known as Live Beyond (also known as Mobile Medical Disaster Relief) based out of Brentwood, TN (you don't have to live there in order to volunteer with them). They are similar to Doctor's Without Borders in that one of their goals is to provide free healthcare and disaster relief to developing countries. They also do micro-finance projects. Right now they are doing mobile medical clinics in Haiti almost every month. They are always looking for medical personnel to join their teams, particularly RN's, advanced practice nurses and PA's. Here is their website:
I had wonderful experiences with them in Haiti and Ghana (West Africa). I hope this helps!
@ Rachel -That is great!! I'm going with MEDICO to Honduras next month. Let me know about your experience -would love to hear about it!
You know that Sigma theta thau international has opportunities?
Hi Melanie (and any APN interested in working internationally),
The short answer is, "no." I don't think there's anything out there quite like MSF (Doctors Without Borders) with opportunities for APNs. I looked into them and found them to be stifling of the APN role...so much so that they recognize APNs at the same level as any other RN! It has been my passion to work on global health care internationally as a profession, but sustainability is very difficult. MSF does offer a stipend, making it possible for individuals to at least make some money while serving with them.
In my pursuits, I've found various other options, but in reality, they're not as organized, offer less compensation, and really it takes more creativity to make it happen. All that said, if you want to work internationally, these are the options I see:
If you're still interested in reading more...
Let me expound on these further to explain the options and evaluate the pros and cons.
I'm sorry for being long, but as others have been asking similar questions I'm hoping it'll be appreciated. As you can see there aren't any perfect answers and I think that when it comes to healthcare, DNPs need to make a path to make it possible to meet the global health deficits. Unfortunately, there's no clear path today. As a result, I think we need to make one...and that's what I'm striving to work on. So maybe I'll see you in the world someday.
I'd love to sit down at Starbucks with anyone interested in this subject any day to help brainstorm how to make it happen. Please let me know your thoughts or if there's a better way already out there!
Tim Kruth, DNP, RN, FNP-C
Editor of InternationalAPN.org
p.s. I am in no way associated with any of the organizations I mentioned in my post, they're just examples of those that I've found out there.
You did a great job in your reply, particularly in describing the type of opportunities.
A few other organizations are worth consideration:
International Rescue Committee has had jobs specifically for NPs. Interantional Medical Corps has as well. Mercy Corps is another agency that may have jobs for nurses in an expanded role although their projects lately are not as focused on direct patient care. Finally there are some general websites like: http://unjobs.org/themes/nursing
Of course Dept of State was hiring but with shut down, there may be no one to answer the phone!