There are many opportunities to travel the world with medical missions. The goal is to help care for populations who are lacking adequate healthcare.
What does it take to be an international travel nurse? These tools will come in handy.
1. Desire to impact the world
Nurses who travel to far-off places to care for people in other areas of the world want to make an impact. They want to provide good nursing care to people who might otherwise not have access to it. They want to foster global change.
2. Bilingual skills
Not an absolute must, of course, but a nurse who travels to a place where he or she speaks the native language is a big plus. It makes communicating with patients and medical staff far less complicated.
An international traveling nurse, even an open-minded one, may experience culture shock when exposed to ways of life that are different from their own. Beliefs, spirituality and values are deeply embedded in every culture and may force the traveling nurse to fine-tune his or her practice of nonjudgmental compassion.
4. Willingness to learn
International nurses have a readiness to learn and a desire to know more about other cultures and parts of the world. They must also be willing to learn about generally accepted medical and nursing practices in the area they are visiting.
5. Strong assessment skills
In less technologically driven parts of the world, there may be limited equipment, monitoring, diagnostics and laboratory access. The nurse must rely on the most basic, fundamental assessment skills to make the best clinical decisions for his or her patients.
6. A sense of adventure
Leaving all that you know to explore and experience another culture is not for the homebody. It takes daring to leap outside your comfort zone.
Have you traveled to other parts of the world to provide nursing care? Who did you travel with and where did you go? Share your experience here and don’t forget to tell us what tools you needed to make it a success.
Check out other Toolkit posts
The nurse preceptor
The geriatric nurse
The hospice nurse
The operating room nurse
The pediatric nurse