Our goal is to provide experiential learning opportunities and cultural expansion for nurses and nursing students while allowing those in our partner communities to benefit from a physical exam and treatment from a licensed medical professional.

About Nursing Teams

ISL’s nursing teams actively participate in health clinic service, in partnership with local community agencies, in an effort provide acute care and public health education to vulnerable populations. Volunteers are introduced to issues relevant to healthcare professions such as nursing, medicine, social work, counseling, education, and allied health professions.

Our nursing program was developed to provide a learning experience that strengthens cultural competency in an ethnically diverse setting, while providing genuine service in developing communities.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify cultural aspects for caring for diverse patients
  • Complete a self-assessment and evaluate the components of cultural competency
  • Verbalize the various roles of health care providers and resources in a community that impact the individual and community’s health and safety
  • Define community and the role of a community health nurse
  • Identify the impact of public health policy on individual and community health and recovery from illness
  • Verbalize basic phrases to complete a basic health assessment in Spanish

Who is Right For Nursing Teams?

ISL’s nursing teams are specially designed for nurses and nursing students.

What to Expect

Upon arrival in-country, you will be met at the airport by ISL staff. Your team’s first day will be busy with cultural orientation and intensive training seminars learning how to take vitals*, triage techniques* (*training as needed depending on medical level of volunteers), and learning medical terminology (Spanish or Swahili); then the community work begins!

On a nursing team, you will work in one of our partner communities in the following ways:

  • Visit homes to assess the needs for health care
  • Evaluate living conditions making connections between lifestyle and health issues
  • Bring/distribute educational materials

You will invite those in need of medical care to a field clinic staffed by local, licensed medical professionals. At the clinic, you will rotate through stations taking turns doing the following:

  • Set-up of triage clinic stations
  • Conducting patient interviews/intake
  • Observing the physician during diagnosis and treatment (students)
  • Participate in diagnosis and treatment (RN’s)
  • Set up and assist with medication distribution in pharmacy stations
  • Play with the community children

Be aware: there will be virtually NO down-time during your ISL program. This is an immersive, intensive experience loaded with service activities and cultural exploration!

In the evenings, you will participate in seminars on prevention and treatment of diseases common to the area and practice techniques such as suturing and administering injections.

There will also be designated time for group reflection – time to discuss and express what you’ve experienced in your day’s community work, either formally or informally.

Your team will eat most dinners out in order to relax and experience the local culture and cuisine. You will learn a few traditional dances and explore some important historical/cultural sites.

Recreational opportunities vary by location, but you will have opportunities like: shopping for local crafts and exploring geographic treasures such as beaches, volcanoes, rainforests, or caves. Traverse ruins, tour city centers, or trek through coffee plantations, and have time for other exciting activities such as ziplining, snorkeling, or safari!

Volunteer Involvement

ISL collaborates with in-country professionals and local Ministries of Health to determine how our volunteers can best impact developing communities.

Registered nurses are able to work at professional capacity in most locations, while nursing students are able to offer valuable assistance in all aspects of patient care.

Safety and Respect

Respect of our patients

Patient consent is, of course, an essential pre-requisite for any level of volunteer participation.  All patients sign a consent form to be seen by a doctor with students observing – we have their complicit consent to treat prior to their intake and examination.

Our patients are protected from exploitation – we are discreet and respectful. We do NOT under any circumstances take photo of any procedure during a patient’s visit. Furthermore, patient rights must be respected at all times; Patients have the right to refuse treatment.

ISL prohibits discrimination on the basis of color, national origin, disability, sex, gender identity, religion or any other factor.

Volunteer Safety

For the sake of security, ISL volunteers remain together as a team from arrival to departure, and are accompanied by ISL staff at all times.

The safety of our volunteers is our number one priority. ISL has offices in all of the countries that we serve. That means wherever you go, rest assured, we’re there too. All ISL regional staff members are thoroughly screened to ensure the safety of your team’s local interactions and we continuously monitor and address all emerging health and safety issues in each of the countries we operate.

Specific precautions taken by ISL:

  • ISL teams avoid large, crowded areas like sporting events whenever possible
  • We continuously monitor local media and information sources in each of our countries through our on-site staff, and take appropriate actions to avoid areas of concern
  • Our on-site staff provide feedback on the local situation in each community we work, and if recommendations are made to change itineraries or programming, we do so immediately
  • Our management team relies on the advice of a number of organizations including the U.S. State Department, the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as an international safety and security organization. If conditions exist that may hinder our ability to provide a safe program, we will alter the itinerary and redirect the program to safer regions or provide other alternatives.

What To Bring

You will need:

  • Stethoscope
  • Blood pressure cuff
  • Otoscope
  • Scrubs
  • Donations of medications
  • Medical supplies (optional)
  • Refillable water bottle (i.e. Nalgene bottle)
  • Funds sufficient to cover one meal per day, recreation, incidentals, souvenirs and departure tax (where applicable).
  • An open-mind
  • A sense of adventure
  • A heart of service

What ISL Provides

  • 24-hour accompaniment by professional, bilingual staff
  • Airport pickup/drop off,
  • All ground transportation
  • All lodging
  • Two meals per day
  • Drinking water
  • Instruction by licensed medical professionals
  • Medications and supplies
  • Quality experiential learning
  • A meaningful glimpse into another culture
  • An unforgettable adventure