Travel Nursing: Where to Be a Nurse Abroad
Your career can take many directions if you become a nurse. One of the most exciting options available for you is to become an international travel nurse, go abroad, and bring your skills to areas that need them. Organizations such as Doctors Without Borders need nurses, and if you want to rise to one of the biggest challenges available to a nurse, you can bring your skills to some of the most challenging places on the face of the earth.
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You’ll pick up valuable language skills
Working as a nurse abroad is a great opportunity to pick up new language skills or hone language skills you already have. You can spend hours in the classroom studying vocabulary and grammar, but there’s nothing like using a language to communicate real meaning to real people.
If you’re already bilingual, then you have an important edge and you’ll be a powerful resource for patients and other staff when you’re abroad. Keep in mind you could need to use technical and medical language, which even some native speakers find difficult. As a nurse working in a foreign country, you can potentially learn medical terms in two languages, which could make you very valuable to future employers, even after you move back home.
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You’ll see the world
Organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) work worldwide, oftentimes in areas hit by violence, severe natural disasters, or other emergencies. When an area is riven by conflict, the ICRC is there providing relief for the local population.
The ICRC are hardly the only ones working in troubled locations, though. Other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are often active in hot spots or places in need of humanitarian aide.
Countries that need nurses are too numerous to mention. There’s Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Ethiopia, which has a nurse-to-population ratio of only 1-to-12,000. Nepal, one of the least developed countries in Asia. Bangladesh, one of the most populous countries in the world and one that is frequently visited by monsoons. Or Indonesia, one of the largest countries in the world by any measure. The list goes on.
You might also find yourself in some remote part of a developed country. Even within the U.S., Canada, China, or Australia, you can still find vast areas where the population has limited access to healthcare resources. As a nurse, you could bring that area immense value.
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You’ll never be the same again
Traveling changes you. Going somewhere unfamiliar alters your worldview, forces you out of your comfort zone, and makes you a more nimble, expansive person. It’s challenging, but that challenge also forges you into the kind of person who can deal with things like differences in language or culture. You’ll be a better communicator, a better problem solver, and someone who is more comfortable in a hard place.
Nurses need that. As a nurse, you’ll encounter life-and-death situations, people in dire need, and emotionally fraught instances of extreme pain and vulnerability. And you’ll deal with it. Going to a foreign country, making yourself a little uncomfortable and doing the hard thing anyway, is one way you can help yourself become the kind of professional who deals with it.