Thinking about undertaking an overseas nursing placement, but unsure about taking the plunge? This article outlines all the benefits of gaining experience overseas through the lens of personal and professional development.
Who can undertake a placement?
Work the World’s overseas placements are for student nurses, recent graduates, and professionals. Anyone at any stage of a nursing degree or those who have completed one can travel.
Placements start every Sunday and operate 365 days a year. This means you can travel whenever suits you. There’s no application process; if you’re on or have completed a nursing degree, you can travel with us.
Now, on to the benefits.
employers will love it
When a potential employer is reading over your job application, the experience implied by your time abroad will jump off the page.
Travelling abroad shows that you’re resourceful, resilient, determined, courageous, compassionate, creative and culturally aware.
“An internship abroad stands out on your CV as a badge of durability, resourcefulness, and cross-cultural aptitude. It says you’ve seen, and experienced things unknowable in places like the US, Australia, or the UK. It says you’ve solved problems and debated ethics that are simply taken for granted at home. It says that you've earned something few others have. Work the World prepare you in innumerable ways to be a better clinician and a better citizen of our planet - employers know this.” - John Hansen Brevetti – Tanzania
We also asked Troy Peden, the CEO of a successful overseas programme directory, what he thought:
"Working, interning or volunteering abroad are great for the resume and can often provide practical experiences that may not be available at home. In the field of medicine and health sciences working abroad may offer the traveller public health topics that are not often issues at home, the opportunity to develop intercultural communication skills and dealing with new and unique challenges. Future employers can see that you are flexible, motivated and dedicated to a greater good.
The biggest value however is the personal transformation that most travellers experience, the connection to locals, the relationship to the culture and the people that lasts a lifetime and the realization of what you are capable of and what you want your direction to be.”
Make lifelong friends and unternational contacts
From the people you’ll live with, to hospital staff, you’ll meet a cast of unique characters during your trip.
The benefits are twofold:
- Sharing this experience with likeminded people from all over the world forms special friendships. The memories you’ll make, and the friendships themselves will last a lifetime.
- You’ll make invaluable international contacts, from your nursing counterparts to hospital directors.
“My advice for future students is to sign up and go! I was hesitant at first because I would be traveling alone but it turned out to be one of the best things. I was able to meet so many people from all over the world and make lifelong friendships.” - Madison Molotky – Tanzania
See healthcare through a new lens
Seeing the way other countries provide care will influence the way you view your own practises. You’ll be grateful for the relative luxuries you enjoy back at home, and develop respect for local staff who provide outstanding care with dramatically limited resources.
As you start gaining experience in our partner hospitals, fully embracing your host culture’s values, you’ll begin to evaluate yourself and develop as a result.
"I honestly don’t feel I can put how much I have actually learned into words, but I would strongly encourage everyone to experience this if they can. I have always loved the NHS at home, but I’ve never been truly grateful. I’m going home a different person.” - Arwen Graham – Kandy, Sri Lanka
Read more about what made Arwen’s trip special here.
Learn a new language
It’s a well-known fact that learning languages keeps your brain supple. Languages are also useful in everyday life, and attractive to employers.
Making the effort to learn the basics of the local language will allow you to engage with patients from the country you’re working in on a much more personal level. It’ll also help you earn the respect of local healthcare professionals, enhancing your experience. To help you along the way, we provide weekly language lessons in our houses geared towards preparing you to get the most from your clinical experience.
“Learning Swahili really did help; the doctors and nurses really appreciate it when you make the effort to speak their language. Ask questions and be active in all that is going on around you.” - Samantha Scoggin – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
To discover more about Samantha’s experience in Tanzania, click here.
Join the global community
With international travel being more accessible than ever, the world seems to be getting smaller all the time. People are starting to see themselves as ‘World Citizens’. Nursing abroad could be your first step towards joining the emerging global community.
“One of the major perks of living in a house with other healthcare students from around the world is that the learning did not stop once you left the hospital. Coming back to the house and discussing the cases that you had seen that day was so useful; it offered a great chance to ask students from other disciplines in other parts of the world questions and compare how care priorities varied between our respective countries. It also offered a great opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the different roles within the healthcare team.” - Alex Warriner – Iloilo, Philippines
Read more details around Alex’s trip to the tropical archipelago of the Philippines here.
Develop personally and professionally
If you choose to go nursing abroad you’re going to learn a lot, and you’re going to learn quickly. Working in a low-resource setting, you’ll learn resourcefulness and resilience from local staff for whom hardship is the norm. You’ll become more confident through engaging with challenging experiences that come with the territory. You’ll also get better at communicating, as you’re likely to be in an environment where the majority of patients won’t speak English.
“An experience like this change you. It changes the way you see yourself, it changes the way you see healthcare and it especially changes you as a nurse. As challenging as it can be, I am now able to adapt as a nurse to my environment and essentially, provide better care for my patients. I was so humbled by the experience.”— Madeline Nastaly – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
More about Madeline’s nursing abroad experience can be found here.
See the world
There’s not much sense in heading to a faraway country without giving yourself the chance to explore it. Whether it’s trekking through the Himalayas in Nepal, or white-water rafting through ancient river gorges in Zambia, nursing abroad offers endless opportunities for adventure.
Most people who travel with us dedicate their weekends to travelling. Some even add extra weeks on to the end of their trip devoted entirely to travelling. Cecilia, who travelled with us to Nepal, had an amazing time travelling after her placement:
“I started my adventures in Chitwan National Park. I rafted down the Rapti River, visited the native Tharu village, went on elephant safaris and went for a jungle trek. My next destination was Kathmandu. I spent my spare time exploring the city, then took a weekend trip to Pokhara, which I spent paragliding, hiking and visiting breathtakingly beautiful temples.” - Cecilia Marti — Kathmandu, Nepal
You’ll find the detail of Cecilia’s experience nursing abroad here.
LEARN WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A NURSE in a global context
The most crucial lesson you’ll learn on an overseas nursing placement is discovering what being a ‘nurse’ means in a global context. After all, the practices, beliefs, and values of nurses differ depending on where in the world they happen to be. The same can be said of the challenges they face.
Nursing abroad also gives you the rare opportunity to share skills and knowledge from your country and culture. In exchange, if you keep an open mind, you’ll learn techniques that will help you develop professionally in ways that people who stay at home can’t.
You deserve to seize the opportunity to try nursing overseas. Why not put yourself ahead of the pack and steer your career as a nurse towards something extra special.
If you’ve made it this far, it’s time to take the first step. To learn more about what a placement with us looks like, click here. If you have any questions, fill out the short enquiry form at the bottom of this page or call us on +61 (0)2 9199 4885 to talk with one of our experts.