Nursing in a third world country can be exciting, dangerous and conditions can be austere. But working in a third world country offers the opportunity to experience diverse cultures, grow personally and professionally, promote health and prevent disease, and feel that you're making a difference.
There are several types of nursing opportunities abroad. The most common are short term volunteer assignments. We usually pay for transportation to assignments as well as a fee that covers food and lodging. We often bring our own equipment, and pharmaceuticals. Many of these trips are sponsored by religious organizations or individual groups, and are coordinated as one to three-week assignments in which teams of volunteers travel daily to makeshift clinics These clinics can be located in the outskirts of a city or in remote villages.
Residents assemble at the designated site (sometimes after days of walking), where volunteers provide pediatric, adult and gynecologic care and dispense basic medications. Advance Planning doesn't always prepared you for what you may encounter, you'll need to adapt. Delivering babies in the living room, suturing lacerations by candlelight, removing bullet fragments and dodging bullets. You'll see things you only read about -neonatal tetanus, elephantitis, a measles epidemic and much more.
We travel on foot and by horseback, mule, and four wheel drive vehicle, up mountains and across rivers with no bridge. We sleep in churches, stables, and anywhere we could. You may be without electricity and an outdoor spigot as the only plumbing. The nearest phone may be hours away. You see bugs you never dreamed of and eat the same foods everyday -plantains, potatoes, yucca and cabbage.
The specific skills you will need depend on the work you will be doing. A strong medical surgical experience is essential. For primary care you need a strong emergency/critical care experience with some pediatric and obstetric experience. Critical - thinking skills and the ability to improvise are the most important and helpful.
Before you take the plunge consider the following
Be realistic and above all be informed.
In most people's minds, countries in Africa and Latin America make part of the Third World, while advanced western states, such as Canada, the US, the UK, along with the rest of Europe, are seen as Non-Third World. The term "Third World" appears not to be universally accepted. Though some political correct would prefer other terms such as - non-industrialized countries, underdeveloped countries, emerging nations, the term "Third World" is probably the one most widely used in the media today.
The term 'Third World Country' was used in reference to the economically underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America, and were considered as an entity with common characteristics, such as poverty, high birthrates, and economic dependence on the advanced countries. Alfred Sauvy, the French demographer coined the expression ("tiers monde" in French) in 1952 in an analogy with the "third estate," the commoners of France before and during the French Revolution.
By the end of World War II the definitions, somewhat ambiguous, provided a reasonable framework. A First World Country was one that was industrialized and had generally accepted the concepts of capitalism and world trade, a Second World Country was an industrialized nation that had rejected capitalism, in favor of Communism or Marxism. The Third World Countries were those that did not fit either of these two. The key features used to define a Third World Country were its lack of industrialization, a very low GNP, a high population and a high level of poverty .
As time has passed and the world has advanced, these definitions have become somewhat meaningless, but unfortunately the concept of a Third World Country, and its association with third-rate status, has remained. Today the world generally consists only of Third World Countries, and Non-Third World Countries. Those termed Third World have; poor industrialization, a low GNP and lack of economic stability, over population and high poverty rates, and a lack of infrastructure (roads, healthcare and education.) The have's and have not's.
Of course this can be more complex than that. An informative article about the complexities in defining a developing country can be found on The World Traveller website at http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/General/ThirdWorld_def.html
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