Work In A Medical/Healthcare Project In Peru
Volunteer your healthcare skills in Peru!
- Work alongside medical & healthcare professionals
- Provide medical attention to impoverished Peruvians
- Become immersed in the beauty of Peru
- Volunteer abroad safely & affordably
Volunteer in Peru in clinics and hospitals and help to provide care to low-income Peruvian families. While healthcare professionals attempt to keep pace with the advances of modern medicine, there are massive amounts of Peruvians who do not have access to basic healthcare. IFRE's volunteer projects in Peru need interested medical/healthcare professionals to support the often-intimidating front line of medicine and healthcare in a developing country. IFRE partners with clinics and hospitals that specialize in rehabilitation for children, general medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, obstetrics, neurology, dental, family medicine, psychology, counseling, social work, physical, occupational rehabilitation and more. In addition, GVS partners with a mobile hospital in order to provide medical attention to rural Peruvians who cannot afford the trip to Cusco for care. Specialized medical teams and mental health workers are greatly needed for this project. Please request information from IFRE about the specific needs and requirements for the mobile hospital. For volunteers interested in a career in healthcare or medicine, this program provides a great opportunity to gain professional experience, provide medical attention to impoverished patients and explore Peru’s mix of Andean, Incan and Spanish cultures. As a volunteer working in clinics and hospitals, you will have a rewarding, life changing and valuable experience as you promote healthy lives for local Peruvians.
Intermediate knowledge of Spanish is preferred. If you cannot speak Spanish, we suggest you enroll in our Spanish language course to make your stay more rewarding – both for you and for the people you help. Applicants interested in joining our volunteer health program can participate with or without experience. Those without experience must be able to observe medical procedures and emergencies where minor surgeries or blood may be involved. Those who possess healthcare certification, such as an ID as a medical student, EMT, paramedic certification, nursing, physical therapy, midwifery or physician's credentials can participate accordingly. IFRE requires a copy of volunteers’ resumes, clearly documenting credentials and education, before arrival at the project. Projects will also require an official copy of credentials. Volunteers must be proactive, patient, responsible, enthusiastic and passionate about healthcare.
As a volunteer working in the medical/healthcare project in Peru, your responsibilities will depend on your level of training, certifications and licensing. All clinics and hospitals seek to use their volunteers efficiently and create a learning environment. As a volunteer with or without experience, you can observe the work of doctors and nurses and help them according to your skills in the medical field. Volunteers with specialties will be able to help in their specific fields. The clinics may also provide basic trainings for volunteers with less experience. Again, depending on qualifications and experience, volunteers carry out duties such as:
- Assisting with lab work
- Helping in the pharmacy
- Helping with triage
- Providing basic care
- Observing the work of nurses or doctors
- Carry out daily administrative tasks
- Taking patient details
- Measuring vital signs such as blood pressure, height, weight
- Distributing medicines
- Performing basic first aid
- Helping with medical procedures
- Assisting incoming patients
- Providing assistance in the in-day emergency room
- Partnering with local doctors
- Qualified doctors can diagnose and treat patients based on their certification and specialty
IFRE manages your living accommodations in Peru. In Cusco, most volunteers live with a host family, but some may live in a hostel. Our host families are socially respected and experienced hosts of international volunteers. They have strong interest in our volunteers’ safety and well-being and demonstrate this with caution and care. Host families will prepare three meals a day for volunteers consisting of local ingredients and foods traditional to Peru. In most host family situations, volunteers will share a room with another volunteer of the same gender. Our host families do not offer laundry services, but some will happily take up the task for a small fee.
Throughout the volunteer project, our local staff stays in contact with volunteers either with face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. Volunteers are always welcome at our local offices in Peru. If project placement is local, we request that volunteers stop by the office once a week to keep us posted on how they are doing with their home stay and project. If project placement is very far, then our local staff members maintain communication by either email and/or phone and try to visit every 2-4 weeks if possible.
Please provide a typical day schedule for this project
Working at a Health Care Project in Peru means volunteering at a small-medium sized medical clinic. This is a great project for those who speak intermediate or better Spanish.
A typical day for volunteers assigned to this project begins with a breakfast prepared by their host family around 7 am. Following breakfast, volunteers will make their way by public bus (about 15 – 20 minutes ride) to the medical clinic where you will observe and assist the doctor’s for about 4 hours every morning, beginning at 8 am. Depending on your level of Spanish, you will assist the nurses and doctors during their daily routine, visiting patients, cleaning wounds, taking blood pressure and sometimes watching surgeries. Every day at the clinic is different, depending a lot on the cases and the number of patients coming in. Upon completing your workday between 12 and 1 pm, you will return to your host family and enjoy a typical Peruvian lunch (e.g. Pollo con arroz). After a short break, at about 1:30pm you will make your way to your Spanish class. The ride takes about 20 minutes to the city center of Cusco. You will enjoy a 2-hour intense group class with your fellow volunteers. Then you have chance to spend the rest of the afternoon at the city center, enjoy a typical Peruvian coffee at one of the nice cafes at the Plaza de Armas or explore the many colorful markets of Cusco. Just before it is getting dark, you make your way back to the bus stop and return to your host family to share a delicious homemade Peruvian dinner around 7:30 pm. You may enjoy a movie or sharing stories with your host family, but be certain to get plenty of rest, as the next morning will arrive quickly.
Where do I stay? How far is the project from the accommodation? How do I commute?
You will stay in a typical Peruvian home with a host family. The project is about 20 minutes by public bus from your accommodations. We generally use public transportation in Cusco, however, if you wish there are taxis available for about $4 USD a ride.
What kind of activities volunteers do in healthcare project?
In the area of medicine, what a volunteer can do depends on their level of training, their certifications and their licensing. All clinics and hospitals seek to use their volunteers fully and have the spirit of learning from each other.
As a volunteer with or without experience, you can observe the work of the doctor or other members of the staff and assist according to your skills in the medical field. Many times, you may be requested to assist with rehabilitation, feeding and dressing patients, especially the children, assisting with medical procedures, and shadowing. Doctors, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists or medical students based on their certifications can help with incoming patients, triage, basic first aid, work in the inpatient hospital caring for patients, work in physical and occupational therapy activities, and doctors can diagnose, and treat patients based on their certification and specialty. Volunteers may be called upon for tasks ranging from observation to assistance to carrying out procedures as a qualified health professional. Volunteers in the healthcare project may assist in taking a patient’s blood pressure or temperatures, helping administration and distributing medicines. If you have the specific skills, you can also have the opportunity to help in any specialized area you may be certified in. The clinic will evaluate and discuss with you what you have training in to be able to use your training and abilities to the maximum in your volunteer experience.
Where are they placed; in clinic or hospital?
All medical clinics are placed in the city of Cusco about 20 minutes by bus from your host family. Your local coordinator will provide you with all directions on the day of your arrival in Cusco. She will accompany you the first day to your project to ensure you arrive accordingly.
What are the requirements to join the program?
Volunteers need to speak at least intermediate Spanish when working at the medical clinic. Most doctors and nurses in Cusco do not speak any English. We recommend volunteers participate in the Spanish language group class offered in Cusco. Furthermore, it is recommendable to have interest in the field of medicine and an education in some level of medical treatment.
Do we get hands on experience at this project?
Hands-on experience during the Healthcare Project in Peru depends on the volunteer’s engagement, their knowledge of the Spanish language as well as their experience in the medical field.
What kind of support do we get during the project time?
Your local coordinator provides you with the support and information needed throughout the duration of your volunteer trip.
How many hours a day do we need to work?
Volunteers work approximately 4 hours per day at the medical clinic. If there is an unforeseen surgery you are interested in observing, you may stay longer.
Is healthcare available all-round the year? If not, when does it close for how long?
The medical project is available all-round the year with the exception of Christmas and public holidays.
Any important information you want to share about this project.
It is important to respect that in Peru the workflow may vary from the one that you are used to in your home country. Volunteers within the healthcare project need to have an open mind to experience a new culture.