5 Unique Volunteer Opportunities for Nurse Practitioners

Can you tell this chilly weather has me cooped up and itching for adventure?  Earlier this week I wrote about some exciting upcoming continuing medical education opportunities for nurse practitioners.  But what if you want to be a bit more selfless with your time?  One of the amazing things about the NP profession is the versatility it offers both professionally and personally.  Here are some unique volunteer experiences available to nurse practitioners hoping to use their profession to help others both locally and internationally.

1. Doctors Without Borders

Working in nearly 70 countries, this organization provides care to individuals in medically underserved areas.  Doctors without Borders is much more than a week long volunteer experience.  They request that nurse practitioners serve for a minimum of 9 to 12 months and have at least two years of relevant experience.  Round-trip transportation as well as a small monthly salary are provided.  This intensive international experience promises to stretch you both personally and professionally. 

2. Coalition of Community Health Clinics

Looking for something less intensive than a year-long commitment?  The Coalition of Community Health Clinics posts local volunteer opportunities for medical providers hoping to work with medically underserved individuals closer to home.  The site lists opportunities such as "Project Erase Tattoo Removal" for providers in Oregon and "The Wallace Medical Concern" a program providing urgent care to uninsured patients. 

3. Mercy Ships

Combine world cruise with medical volunteerism and you get Mercy Ships.  This floating hospital travels the world providing free, basic health care as well as transformative surgeries.  Not only does Mercy Ships recruit medical providers, they also require other types of volunteers for tasks like cooking and running the ship.  If you and your non-medical significant other would like to volunteer together, this may be just the place. 

4. HealthCareVolunteer.com

This site offers a database of medical volunteer opportunities both local and international from helping staff a free clinic in Richmond, Virginia to providing medical care among remote populations living in the Amazon.  Whatever the criteria of your volunteer experience, HealthCareVolunteer.com likely has an opportunity to fit. 

5. MedicalMissions.org

MedicalMissions.org connects medical volunteers with medical missions opportunities across the globe.  If you are looking to add a faith-based twist to your travel, this is just the place to look.  From dermatological missions in Belize to birthing babies in Bangladesh these week long trips are convenient for most schedules while still offering international medical involvement. 

Have you used your nurse practitioner skills to help medically underserved populations?  Tell us about your experience!

Comments

What medical missions would you recommend for student Nurse Practitioners? I have a week off beginning of May 2018 and would love to go on a medical mission for that week to work in the capacity of a NP, could also work as an RN, whatever is needed...I plan to continue this long after I take boards in December. I found MedicalMissions.org online, wondering if anyone else has any experience with this organization or others that they might recommend?

Thanks!
Laura

Laura Porter

I am currently an FNP student who will be starting clinical in January 2019. I have already traveled to India giving Polio immunizations and it was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. If there are any experiences in the gulf coast of Florida (between Clearwater and St. Petersburg I would be greatly interested.

Linda Unger

Good to read!

Michael Oliphant

Hi Nancy, 

We do not have a program set up for NP students to fulfill their clinical hours. You can try posting a message on the MyMidlevelU message board

Simply create a login, verify your email address, and post a request for a preceptor under the appropriate heading. 

Erin Tolbert

I am curious do you have a program set up for NP students to be able to forfill their practium hours? I am in school for FNP. I had my women's health and peds rotation all set to start in Jan 2017. It has fallen through diue to staff leaving. I am struggling (like many of my classmates) to find placement in an area of a new PA school that has monoploized all of the medical practices and hospitlas in the area. ANy thoughts if you don't provide this service?

Nancy Checchi

Volunteer work has been gratifying, humbling, and a great way to get experience as a student NP and continues even after graduation and licensing. I have been volunteering medical services to about 50 Spanish-speaking only patients in a small community for 4- hours, once a month for the past 3 years, working with only one physician. There are a few nurses and others who also volunteer to translate for us. We have access to very little supplies, equipment, and medicine. The clinic is solely funded by one small church and a few local farmers.

Part of the satisfaction is being able to "give back" to the community. I will go so far as to say I believe it should be part of regular education from K-12 and beyond! Yes, it's that good!

I urge everyone in all capacities to seek out some kind of volunteer services throughout their lives.

Lori