Some do it because it feels good to make others feel good. Some do it to expand their horizons. But not enough people do it. Why should you volunteer?
Meet Amazing People (Who Share Your Passion)
Health Volunteers Overseas sends qualified professionals across the globe to train local health care providers in anesthesia, dentistry, dermatology, hand surgery, hematology, internal medicine, nursing education, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthopedics, oncology, pediatrics, physical therapy and wound care.
“Other volunteers from many different nations and backgrounds are such an encouraging sign of hope for humanity.” Notes one volunteer in Cambodia.
Visit Amazing Places
Volunteering your services is a great way to see the world while doing a good turn. Such an experience can be both inspiring and horizon-broadening.
- Russia, Ukraine, South Africa, Tanzania, India, Peru, Uganda, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Papua New Guinea, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nepal http://www.d2d.org/
- Haiti – http://www.healinghandsforhaiti.org/
- Amazon Africa http://www.amazonafrica.org/
- Seirra Leone http://www.mercyships.org/the-experience/our-field-services
Renew Your Commitment /Rejuvenate
Few vacations or spa treatments can compare to the fulfillment of lending a helping hand. Such a temporary job change can lead you to a renewed sense of purpose and perhaps even new career directions.
“UMMA Free Clinic reminds me why I went into medicine in the first place,” says one recent volunteer.
It’s Good For Your Health
Could volunteering be good for your health? A new report that draws from the results of more than 30 studies on the topic says yes. Volunteering for healthcare workers within the healthcare industry is especially important as a new way to ensure that such workers themselves don’t become heavy users of the healthcare system.
Be Reminded of How Good Your Life is
You probably have it pretty good compared to a lot of patients, medical professionals in the developing world. Volunteering in other such countries can help put this into perspective and empower you to create positive change in such regions as well.
“It occurred to me that designing an all-volunteer health and veterinary care program for such desolate places might make life easier for a whole lot of people.” – Quote from volunteer.
“The vast differences between the health care system in developed countries and one such as Nepal is astounding and experiencing it first hand has given me a whole new perspective on my priorities in life. I have learned to be grateful for the amazing amount of opportunities offered to us in our country.” – Quote from volunteer.
Help Some of the Neediest People in the World (Sometimes Without Leaving Home)
From natural disasters, to refugee camps, the poorest people in the world, victims of torture and war.
- Volunteer office: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/
- Fundraising: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate/fundraiser/?ref=main-menu
- Things to do without leaving home from http://www.imva.org/Pages/volufrm.htm
If you thought the ER or the operating room was fast-paced, think again. Volunteering abroad can land you – literally – in the middle of exotic locales and inspiring challenges.
There’s something to be said about taking a break from saving lives in your day-to-day job to take a shot at saving lives in a venue that might not always give people many chances to stay alive and healthy.
“With a generous grant from the Lalor Foundation, 3AO and the Fundação Esperança trained a network of community health leaders to teach reproductive health education throughout the schools, health posts, and community centers of Santarém. The program worked in over 25 neighborhoods reaching a total population of 118,292. Though it is too early to judge the success of this program, the preliminary data shows dramatic decreases in the amount of sexually transmitted diseases reported by the Municipal Secretary of Health.” – Amazon Africa Aid
Health is a Human Right
HealthRight International is a global health and human rights organization working to build lasting access to health for excluded communities. The group works closely with communities and establish local partnerships to deliver health services. Their goal is to create lasting change that supports access to health while strengthening human rights.
Being neighborly isn’t just something you do at home: Volunteering your services helps instill a sense of corporate neighborliness: Doing so in disadvantaged areas of America or Mexico can be a rewarding experience for patients and you.
- Los Médicos Voladores (LMV) – in Spanish, the flying doctors – is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that aims to improve the health and well-being of geographically diverse peoples through education and the provision of no-cost, high-quality medical, dental, and optometric clinics.
- Flying Samaritans is a volunteer organization which operates free medical clinics in Baja California, Mexico. Doctors, dentists, nurses, translators, pilots and support personnel drive or fly to clinics in private aircraft. The initiative is a cooperative agreement with the University of Baja California.
Improve Public Perception of Medical Profession (OR Help Out at Home)
You know you’re not in it for the big pay check. Do they? Volunteer to help underserved in USA
Give Hope to Others (or Share Your Faith, or Follow a Spiritual Calling)
You might not think of volunteering as a spiritual experience, but offering your services for free can be that indeed. Many volunteer-based medical organizations are faith-based and can foster spiritual experiences amongst both patients and volunteers.
- http://www.missiondoctors.org/about/wherweserve.html (Catholic faith based)
- http://www.cmmb.org/ (Catholic faith based)
- http://www.volunteermedics.org/ (Christian)
- www.aim-us.org (Christian)
- www.ajws.org (Jewish)
Keep Active in Retirement
This aspect of volunteerism may not be in the front of your mind – especially if you’re in the beginning or middle of your career. But volunteering after retirement is an excellent way for medical professionals to continue to contribute without being locked-in to 40+ hours of work each week. It’s also a great way to stay productive and alert beyond your full-time working years.
Work With Your Spouse
Who’d have thought you can have it all like this? Assuming working with your spouse won’t drive one or more of you crazy, some organizations allow and even encourage couples to volunteer together.
- Spouses, and sometimes children, are welcome on many volunteer trips
- Spouses are welcome and often asked to volunteer to teach English as a second language to our staff and students. http://www.hopenhome.org/health.htm (Nepal based group)
Some of the most transformative experiences in your career may happen while volunteering your time. Think of it as a professional development workshop for you that helps improves other peoples lives as well…
- Go on rounds and exchange ideas with peers around the world http://www.d2d.org/whatwedo.html
Pediatricians reap rewards when training medical professionals in developing countries: ‘I learned more than I taught” quote from volunteer – from American Academy of Pediatricians
- Especially for students http://www.cfhi.org/web/index.php/program/viewall
“I learned so much during my month in Bolivia: important clinical and language skills that will be essential to my career in the future” – quote from volunteer Danielle Yerdon, Pre-Med, Cornell University
Develop Cultural Competency
Experience another culture, understand it better, relate it to your own, and broaden your horizons.
“There are many outward differences such as food, life-style, and standard of living, but these felt unimportant compared with the rich opportunity to engage with the people.” HVO volunteer in India