Offering students paths in five different nurse practitioner specialties while providing future nurses with patient care skills and expertise to guide them throughout their careers, Regis College’s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is designed for health care professionals seeking a high-quality education that is also flexible and affordable. But what many prospective MSN students don’t know is that advanced, specialized practitioner skills aren’t limited to medical environments in the United States.
There are international nursing and health care opportunities that can be both professionally rewarding and personally enriching. The countries, organizations, and patient populations that MSN students can work with are immensely diverse, allowing current and future nurses to make a difference abroad and to apply the lessons they’ve learned from their experiences at home. Here are some of the professional opportunities that may be available to those interested in nursing abroad.
Working for a Nonprofit
Nurses can work directly for an international nonprofit organization that addresses a certain health conflict or treats a specific patient population. They can also find work through domestic nonprofits that connect professionals with work opportunities overseas.
For example, One Nurse at a Time is a Seattle-based nonprofit organization that provides nurses with educational guides and information regarding different nursing abroad opportunities, including the specific application and job requirements for each. ProjectsAbroad is another organization that has several nursing abroad career opportunities available. It offers internships in countries such as Argentina, Ghana, Tanzania, and Vietnam, where nurses can work with hospital staff to help improve the health of local populations.
It’s important to note that many nonprofit nursing abroad opportunities are volunteer positions and may require nurses to pay for their travel and living expenses, although financial aid may be available. Additionally, some nursing abroad opportunities may be available only at a certain time of the year or might require an advanced skill, such as the ability to provide a certain type of care or speak a specific language. Nurses should research the opportunities they might be interested in to ensure they meet all requirements.
First Responder for Global Natural Disasters
Even with advanced technology to detect potential natural disasters across the world, there are always individuals in these regions whose long-term health is negatively impacted by such unfortunate events. International nurses can serve as first responders in the immediate aftermath of these events or help individuals and populations who are still struggling to recover from past natural disasters.
One such organization is Global First Responder, which is dedicated to providing medical relief and recovery to individuals impacted by disaster across the globe. This organization has volunteer positions in areas such as India, Lebanon, and Thailand. Similar to nonprofit opportunities, nurses will need to pay a fee, either out of pocket or through crowdfunding efforts.
The American Red Cross also offers international disaster responder opportunities during global crises. The priority response domains do not specifically include health care or patient treatment but can still be valuable for nurses interested in making a difference. However, because of the unpredictability of these positions, as well as the undetermined length of time a professional interested in nursing or helping abroad may need to serve, these roles are best suited for skilled nurses with high flexibility in their professional and personal lives.
Global Health Nursing Fellowship
Offered by the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC), the Global Health Nursing Fellowship provides health care professionals interested in nursing abroad with clinical exposure, on-site education opportunities, and the ability to conduct effective community outreach in an international setting. Working in Limón, Costa Rica, fellows gain clinical health experience and learn to execute public health campaigns.
FIMRC has offered this fellowship during different times of the year over four-week sessions. Throughout the program, participants can lead health education sessions, perform patient intake, contribute to clinical rotations, and more. The cost of the 2018 program was $3,326, which included housing, meals, and insurance but not airfare. The FIMRC also offers volunteer opportunities for shorter periods in other areas across the globe.
Public Health Advisor for CDC Global Health
International nurses can make an impact on the local and policymaking level as a public health advisor for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Public health advisors collect and analyze pertinent health data from where they are stationed overseas. Taking legislative or policy guidelines and regulations into account, and working in conjunction with other international organizations, they then develop comprehensive plans that can address foreign health conflicts.
This is a paid position, with a salary range of $62,722 to $114,578 per year, according to a USA Jobs posting. However, the CDC states, “This announcement is being used to create an inventory of applicants for public health advisor positions and will be used to fill immediate and future needs,” indicating that the agency hires for this position on an as-needed basis. Overseas assignments are initially for two years but may be reduced or even extended for up to four years. The position also requires applicants to possess specialized experience.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The American Red Cross offers nursing abroad opportunities beyond the international disaster responder program.
For example, Red Cross is currently seeking a disaster management coordinator in Zimbabwe, a learning officer in Hungary, and a disaster risk reduction and resilience delegate in Indonesia. These positions vary in level of responsibility, assignment classification, and the specific populations or individuals with whom professionals may be working. Compared with volunteer nursing abroad opportunities, paid positions are often for longer terms, and because of the level of specialization often required, they may be better suited for nursing or health professionals with greater flexibility in their personal and professional lives.
Regis College Nursing Work in Haiti
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) students at Regis College have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of disadvantaged populations in Haiti. The university and the Be Like Brit Foundation have formed the Be Like Brit Clinic Partnership. The foundation was created in memory of Britney Gengel, a compassionate teenager who lost her life in the catastrophic 2010 Haiti earthquake, and aims to improve the lives of children in Haiti. The Be Like Brit Clinic Partnership enables dedicated professionals to provide quality care to villagers who would not normally have access to such services.
Additionally, Regis College is working to develop a Clinical Excellence Program with a Partners in Health hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti. Through this program, Regis College aspires to address the gap between the nursing school curricula at various universities and the clinical practice procedures at different health facilities in the country.
Learn More About Nursing Abroad Opportunities
There are extensive and diverse nursing abroad opportunities available to current and future nurses wanting to make a difference in global communities. To find the best program or opportunity for them, nurses should consider their finances, their level of availability, the particular populations or health conflicts they want to work with or address, and what specialized skills they can use to make a positive impact. Learn more about how to prepare for these roles through Regis College’s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).
American Red Cross, International Disaster Responders
Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children, Global Health Nursing Fellowship
Global First Responder
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
One Nurse at a Time
Regis College, Online Master of Science in Nursing
Regis College, Regis in Haiti