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Across Oceans: Nurses Assisting with Worldwide Relief Efforts

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Written by NS StaffJuly 20, 2011
Nursing Overseas

Nursing is considered by many to be a rewarding and exciting career. From assisting doctors in the operating room to patient rounds and personal care, nurses have a very important role in the field of medicine. However, for those who dare, there is a world of opportunity above and beyond uniforms and hospital beds. That opportunity lies in the world of overseas volunteer nursing.

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There are several agencies that provide nursing opportunities overseas. The Red Cross, a world-renowned organization that offers relief and support during times of conflict or in the event of a disaster, employs thousands of nurses in paid and volunteer capacities the world over. These nurses are sent to disaster-ridden areas such as the recent tsunami-struck Southeast Asia to provide care and treatment for sick or injured people, and assist in any way they can.

Another organization, HVO, or Health Volunteers Overseas, also provides jobs for nurses willing to volunteer in relief efforts all over the world. HVO has projects in over 60 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean, and is strictly a training and teaching organization. Volunteers may conduct classroom lessons, or be involved in developing a curriculum for training local nurses in the latest medical innovations and proper care.

Many of these positions are strictly temporary, from as little as two weeks to a month or longer. However, several nurses who serve in these positions find it so rewarding that they return for another “tour of duty,” and yet others decide to make volunteering their career. There is little expense in being a volunteer, and most expenses that are incurred can be written off as tax-deductible. Usually a volunteer will have room and board provided, as well as local transportation, with the possibility of a small stipend in some cases. Volunteers often have to pay for their travel expenses to and from the volunteer location, but it seems a small price to pay in the face of such an experience.

Nursing is difficult, requiring a person of great patience, skill, and determination, as well as a strong desire to serve others, but it can also be one of the most rewarding careers available. There is always a need for volunteers, and if you would like the experience of helping others and the possibility of worldwide travel, look into overseas volunteer nursing. It could be the best career decision you ever make.

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