Global health experience for nursing students

March 20, 2021

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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Global health experience for nursing students provides a unique perspective that fosters better healthcare professionals. In this article we will explore why international experience is beneficial to aspiring nurses, and how you can find those opportunities.

We have seen first-hand how students on different medical career paths, have built strong foundational knowledge through unique experiences in other countries. At Global Pre-Meds, we provide doctor shadowing and global health experiences for future doctors, nurses, midwives, and physician assistants

We can help you enhance your resume and become a more competitive applicant for universities and career opportunities in nursing.  

Nurses in global health

According to the World Health Organization, nurses and midwives make up 50% of the global health workforce. Why are nurses so important to the global health industry?

Nurses play a major role in providing primary and community healthcare. Global health focuses not just on the individual, but on preventative methods and care that will help entire communities.

We know as a pre-nursing student, you are driven to provide the best care to your patients. One of the best things a global health perspective can do is broaden your understanding of patient backgrounds, culture, socioeconomic status, etc. 

Empathy is one of the most important parts of being a healthcare professional, and particularly a nurse. Going abroad to find global health experience for nursing students will give you a new understanding of individuals from countries – and healthcare systems – that may be unfamiliar to you. 

Our global health experience program in Tanzania, allows you to observe medical professionals at a community healthcare center and compare this with what you learn from traditional healers in two different tribal communities

You get to observe healthcare from different levels, which helps you understand how culture impacts medicine. Additionally, the people and facilities you will observe are usually operating with limited resources, especially compared to what we are used to working with in Europe and the United States. 

Another part of getting global health experience as a nursing student, is that you will get to diversify your medical knowledge. You will undoubtedly observe cases and medical situations that are not common to your area. 

If you join our program in Tanzania, for example, you will likely see malaria and HIV/AIDS, as well as cases that have been exacerbated by a lack of resources and sometimes, cultural practices. One example of this is female genital mutilation, which is more commonly practiced in this part of the world, and does impact the birthing process for expectant mothers. 

Not only does exposure to different medical issues help you build your professional knowledge, but it will also give you more to discuss in your personal statements and applications to nursing programs. Your future professors and supervisors will see that you have traveled the world and learned in different healthcare systems, which makes you a more appealing candidate. 

Consider looking at global health experiences for nursing students as a way of building your resume. These unique opportunities can help you stand out from the crowd of other aspiring nurses. 

Find global health experience for nursing students

There are several ways pre-nursing students can find opportunities to go abroad and learn about global health. 

We have already mentioned our Global Pre-Meds programs, which are curated experiences that give you safe, controlled access to the frontlines of international hospitals and clinics. Programs like ours can be good opportunities, as long as you find ones that are safe and ethical

Going abroad for healthcare experience has landed some students and organizations in trouble. Some companies have put students in unsafe situations that they were not trained for.  You want to make sure that you have vetted the program. 

This is something to keep in mind as you research different global health experiences. If you are not a certified medical professional, then you should not be performing any medical procedures. 

You can also check with your university or high school to see if they have any global health experience opportunities. For example, the University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing offers short-term global experiences for their students in different countries, and led by their staff.

Some schools do offer longer study abroad or exchange programs for their nursing students. These can be a bit harder to find because you want to make sure those course credits transfer, which can be challenging when you go abroad.

If your high school or university has a HOSA – Future Health Professionals chapter, you should try to network with them and see what kinds of international or global health opportunities they may have. 

You can always try searching on the internet, or perusing resources like the Transcultural Nursing Society to see if any opportunities emerge. These are also great places to find networking opportunities. 

Peace Corps is often looking for volunteers in the health sector. Although you may not be providing nursing services, you can get involved in community awareness projects and observe the challenges of healthcare in rural areas. 

It can be difficult to find experiences when you are not a fully trained nurse. That’s why looking for shadowing or health education opportunities may be your best option. 

On our global health experience program in Tanzania and our hospital doctor shadowing program in Dominican Republic, you will be guided by mentors the entire time. We have created learning experiences that are suitable for students in high school or college, who are on different career paths. 

Our mentors have been selected because of their professionalism and ability to share their experiences. Although they are all medical doctors, they will know what your interests are and will guide you towards cases that are suitable for your career goals.

Another aspect of the global experience on our programs is that you will be interacting with peers from all over the world. Many of our students have made lifelong friends, who continue to be their community through nursing school and beyond. You will learn from each other as you go through this amazing experience. 

If you are looking for global health experience for nursing students, we hope you consider one of our programs. Check out our program dates here!