Gain invaluable hands-on experience, working side by side with medical staff and fellow volunteers at a hospital or a neighborhood health clinic. This opportunity will give you an insight into the setting up and running of a hospital or a neighborhood health clinic on a daily basis.
You will experience the stark contrast between western medical practice and the realities of medicine in developing countries
As the hospitals and clinics are still modernizing there are many challenges faced and there are realities not often seen in developed countries. Therefore this project not only provides you with responsibility, it also allows you to broaden your perspective by working at a hospital/health clinic in a developing country where you will be faced with the stark realities of the disparities between medical practice in the developed and developing world. This means that, sadly, you will also see medical conditions that have remained untreated and have developed to an advanced pathological stage uncommon in developed countries.
Furthermore, you can gain experience in a range of different departments and activities within the hospital, such as: Emergency, Pediatry, Maternity (only female volunteers), Diabetes, Integral Attention & Prevention for HIV, Tuberculosis and Uterine Cancer as well as Nursing, Hospital administration and management assisting with accountancy and helping with statistics. There is also the possibility to work in the pharmacy. Furthermore you are welcome to also work in our other projects such as the English and computer classes.
Your level of possible involvement will largely depend on your Spanish language skills and experiences in the field, as well as your motivation and willingness to get involved. It will also depend on the current needs and tasks at the hospital as we really want to help out wherever our help is needed most. Your work schedule will be created in a meeting with the departmental director and the volunteer coordinator and supervisor. In this process we always try to match your interests and skills with the current situation at the hospital. In order to gain the most out of your experience, and especially if you have a specific health care goal, please contact us in advance to discuss your options in detail. Pleaser keep in mind that hospitalized patient care in the Dominican Republic is much less extensive compared to nursery practices in the western world! It is common to see that family members are expected taking care of their patient at the hospital.
What to expect
Working hours will be primarily in the morning when the physicians are at the hospital or clinic. Intermediate to advanced Spanish speakers will get the most out of the rotation. Friendly and welcoming physicians, nurses, and patients make this rotation a joy to be a part of! You are encouraged to also take part in weekend shifts and watches with doctors and nurses as this gives you excellent exposure to work observation and experience opportunities!
• Observing, shadowing and assisting doctors and nurses during their work
• Participating in patient care: comfort patients and assist in examining patients
• Providing ambulance support when needed
• Assisting, teaching and encouraging prevention, hygiene and check-ups
• Assisting in developing educational materials and engagement strategies for various prevention programs using multimedia means
• Assisting regularly with hospital administration tasks and help improve procedures and workflow
• Assisting occasionally with domiciliary health services, assistance, hygiene and information
• Some volunteers may also choose to teach English to the doctors, should there be a sufficient number of doctors interested
• Several times a year there are forgein medical mission visiting and working at the hospital. You may accompany them and if you wish translate for them
• There may also be varying current projects, which volunteers may wish to join. Past projects were a zika information and prevention program and the education of mothers-to-be on the importance of considering breast feeding as part of an ongoing UNICEF project
Please note that due to worldwide regulations only trained medical staff can be allowed to directly treat patients. Volunteers/interns without medical training can assist the medical staff and work in healthcare.
Volunteer Placement and/or Internship
This program can be booked as a volunteer placement and internship
This program is suitable for medical students and students of pharmaceutics as well as nursing students with free holiday time, pre-university students, students taking – or planning to take – specialist medical courses such as biomedical science, nursing and physiotherapy as well as professionals. The key requirements for a medical volunteer or intern are initiative, enthusiasm, and readiness to work in unfamiliar circumstances. If volunteers have more specialized skills, this will allow for more specialized activities. Basic conversational Spanish skills are required and the more advanced your level of experience and Spanish language skills, the larger the number of opportunities available. To allow for deeper engagement with your placement we also offer 5 free Spanish language lessons every week allowing for an enhanced experience as a volunteer/intern with us.
A minimum stay of 4 weeks is required.
Samana and Las Terrenas
Extra donation required
We require an extra donation of Euro 30,- per placement week for the Health Care program. This donation will be spent to support needy patients with medicines and urgent medical supplies as well as needed equipment for the hospital and to cover extra spending incurred while placed at the hospital.
Suggestions on what to bring and donate:
Pease bring scrubs and easy to clean closed toe shoes to wear in the hospital as they are mandatory!
Stethoscopes, otoscopes, latex gloves, hand sanitizer and face masks (N95 for the TB patients) would be a very helpful donation to the hospital
Guidelines on medical Issues of the Dominican Republic:
WHO report on health care reform in Dominican Republic, 2010
Health System of the Dominican Republic, 2011. The website provides an excellent overview of common medical issues in the DR and the government health system. Only available in Spanish.