If the idea of helping people around the world is part of what draws you to nursing, you may be interested in learning what it takes to be a nurse with an international aid organization. There are a number of international organizations that utilize nurses to care for people in a wide range of situations to teach individuals and communities about important health topics.
Basics for International Nursing
The opportunities for nursing internationally are diverse and wide-ranging, so there’s not one degree that will ensure you a position. With that being said, you should assume that you will be required to become a registered nurse in order to work internationally. That means you will need to hold either an associates or bachelors degree in nursing and have passed your licensing exam. Nurses with advanced practice degrees may also find their schooling and experience very helpful in working with aid organizations.
The Kinds of Work International Aid Nurses Do
International aid organizations provide nursing services in a variety of situations. If you go to the website for the International Council of Nurses, you can get a feel for the types of nursing available by looking at the various networks. These include disaster response, HIV-AIDS care, rural and remote nursing, nursing education and nurse practitioner work.
It’s not just your degree, but the type of nursing experience you’ve had that may best prepare you for some international jobs. Work in emergency care, in a rural clinic, or as a midwife may qualify you for certain kinds of international aid jobs. If you have teaching experience or a second language, those skills may also prove to be helpful prerequisites.
Places You Can Find More Information About Work as an International Nurse
The International Council of Nurses is one of the best places for information about what international nurses do, how international nursing is regulated, and the kinds of healthcare programs they are involved in globally. In addition, you can learn more about how to prepare for an international nursing job, and what opportunities might be available, by checking into some of the most respected international aid organizations that employ nurses. These include the American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF.
Some of the organizations that utilize international health workers have internships available to graduate nursing students. For instance, the World Health Organization (WHO) offers internships to graduate students in nursing and midwifery who want to learn about healthcare practice and policy at a global level. UNICEF, which works with children in 190 countries around the globe, also has internships available occasionally.
Talking with people who have international nursing experience and finding out about specific job opportunities will help you to know how best to prepare for the possibility of working overseas. If you’re not yet certain if a long-term international commitment is right for you, you could look into an organization like Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) which sends healthcare workers for short-term missions to various international sites. Gaining experience, even if only for a couple of weeks, could be a good way to find out if you really want to be a nurse with an international aid organization.