A fresh perspective:
Nursing electives in developing countries have the potential to change the way you see healthcare forever. After one of our specialist nursing elective placements you’ll be better prepared for a career in your field than anyone who chose to play it safe and stay at home. You’ll learn how nurses in the developing world adapt to deal with under-resourced wards, treat conditions you've never even seen, pick up new clinical skills and more.
YOUR ELECTIVE, CUSTOM-MADE
‘We can make it happen’ - words we live by. Tell us where your skills and interests lie and we’ll tailor your nursing elective down to the tiniest detail. These are not simply off the shelf elective placements for nursing students; they are custom-made experiences that change lives. Our Elective Experts will tailor your hospital experience, match you with supervisors, tackle visa administration — the list goes on. They’re also responsible for the day-to-day running of our programmes overseas making them the best people for the job.
Whether you choose adult, paediatric or mental health nursing, under your supervisor’s wing you’ll have the chance to help diagnose and treat unfamiliar conditions such as dengue fever, malaria, rabies and more. And because healthcare is expensive and patients often live great distances from the hospitals to make a trip until it is absolutely essential, you’ll see plenty of advanced-stage conditions too. Nursing abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see things from a totally different angle.
ON THE GROUND
You’ll have round the clock support from our friendly in-country teams from within our private, security guarded, fully catered accommodation. What’s more, you’ll get open access to MyTrip (our personalised online elective information hub) to find out everything about your placement at the click of a button. We focus exclusively on building the best elective experiences available, meaning you’re in the hands of the specialists. You only get one shot at your nursing elective, let us help you make it count.
Each medical case that I saw was as interesting as the next.
Emma Simson van Dijkhuizen, University of Nottingham 2016Read more
I had the time of my life in Sri Lanka with Work the World, and I wouldn’t change a single thing.
Beth Hargreaves, University of Manchester 2016Read more
I would recommend my placement with Work the World to others without a doubt
Kate Henderson, University of Auckland 2015Read more
I would absolutely recommend this trip to anyone considering it.
Samantha Scoggin, University of Michigan 2015Read more
You learn very quickly how to assess patients much more efficiently.
Madeline Nastaly, University of Sydney 2015Read more
Nursing elective destinations
Tanzania - Arusha
The lively city of Arusha is situated a way inland from the East Coast of Africa. Whether you like the idea of big game safaris, mountain climbing, markets, street food vendors, bars, restaurants, museums, cinemas, and more, there’s a wealth of opportunity for new experiences here.
We’ve forged partnerships with hospitals all over Arusha, which means we’re able to offer nurses a unique placement. Working across a broad cross section of departments you’ll treat unusual conditions like malaria, pneumonia, malnutrition, diarrhoea, burns, fractures, meningitis, tuberculosis and more. You’ll also be in the company of highly trained specialists, meaning you’ll have every opportunity to tap into a highly specialised knowledgebase that you can take home with you.
Arusha is commonly referred to as the gateway to the northern safari circuit, and as such presents all travellers with the opportunity to enjoy new experiences on a daily basis. Take a 4x4 out on to the African plains and you’ll spot lions, zebra, cheetah, wildebeest and more. If you feel like climbing mountains that’s no issue; Mt. Meru is a short drive away and the views from the top couldn’t be more spectacular. If you’d prefer the warmth of white sandy beaches, diving and cocktails then be sure to fly across to the paradise island of Zanzibar. The city itself is a cultural hub, with plenty of bars, restaurants, markets and more.
Absorbing new skills and information in Arusha’s hospitals will fundamentally shift your perspective on nursing. But living and working in a traditional Maasai village, you’ll get a true taste of how healthcare is provided in a truly remote African setting. Your mornings will be spent working at the local health dispensary, examining and diagnosing cases and suggesting medication. In the afternoons accompanied by your guide, you’ll be introduced to the fascinating culture of the Maasai tribe. This includes witnessing a goat sacrifice, visiting sacred Maasai sites, watching the famous tsotso dance, wearing traditional Maasai clothes and more.
Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania, yet a wealth of natural beauty is right on its doorstep waiting to be explored by keen travellers. The beaches along the coast here are out of this world, some of the best safaris in the world are nearby, and the famous Mt. Kilimanjaro is but a short flight away.
Dar es Salaam has some of the best facilities and teaching practices in the whole of Tanzania, meaning nurses can tap into areas of expertise found nowhere else. Working alongside some of the most highly qualified specialists in Tanzania you’ll gain experience in a number of departments located in our partner hospitals and clinics. Here you can focus in on very specific areas of interest such as paediatric HIV, or get a broader experience across departments. As a result of the strong relationships we have with our partner hospitals, you’ll enjoy unparalleled flexibility when choosing the areas you wish to focus in on.
Africa’s east coast is a beautiful place, particularly in the area where our base is located. There are bars and restaurants a short journey away from our private house in which you can eat and drink to your heart’s content. But of course the fun doesn’t stop there. You can also go on safari in Mikumi National Park to see the ‘Big 5’, cross the sea to the turquoise waters of Zanzibar to go diving and relax on its beaches. Or if you’re up to the challenge, take the bus to Kilimanjaro and brave the 5-day climb to its summit for views over Africa you’ll never forget.
This add-on offers you the chance to stay with a host family in a rural village nestled at the foot of the staggeringly beautiful Viduna Mountains. In a local clinic you’ll work alongside doctors in a number of departments to get an understanding of rural nursing. And in the afternoons you’ll take part in activities like meeting the village elders, cycling to the local sugar plantations, swimming in waterfalls and more. This experience will be the perfect complement to your placement in Dar es Salaam’s larger hospitals.
Nepal - Pokhara
Pokhara is an exciting city found in a valley at the edge of the Himalayan Mountains. The city is a historical and cultural centre, and yet it has all the modern amenities any traveller could want. Thrill-seekers will love the adventure sports like paragliding and white-water rafting, while students looking for a slower pace will find it in the temples and markets across the city.
In Nepal families usually offer bedside care leaving nurses to focus on things only nurses can do such as diagnosing patients, administering treatments, and more. You’ll have the unique opportunity to focus right in on specialist areas of interest right down to areas like leprosy rehabilitation or neonatal intensive care. You’ll also be able to accompany local students on their ward rounds to exchange skills and information that you’d otherwise never acquire. You’ll also work closely with other fully qualified nurses who will impart upon you their years of experience working in such a low resource setting.
There is no shortage of things to do in Pokhara. Keen adventurers can trek across the snowy peaks, paraglide with birds of prey, try their hand at white-water rafting, or set off on an elephant safari. With the ever-present Annapurna mountain range piercing through the sky in the background, every moment you spend in the city is one of wonder. In down time stroll around sacred temples, row across the tranquil waters of Lake Phewa, or simply browse the local market stalls for souvenirs.
Working in Pokhara’s busy city hospitals is one thing, but heading off into the Himalaya to live with our host family in a postcard perfect mountainside village is another entirely. You’ll work in a local health outpost with the resident specialist to treat a number of unusual walk-in cases, but with very limited resources. In the afternoons you’ll learn traditional Nepalese cooking, walk to nearby temples, visit a local shaman, milk the village buffalos and more. This is an unmissable opportunity that will show you a completely different side of Pokhara’s healthcare system.
Nepal - Kathmandu
Kathmandu is Nepal’s capital city, and living and working here will tell a story about the country can’t simply be expressed in words. This dynamic cultural centre has ornate Hindu temples, free-roaming monkeys sprinting across rooftops, chanting Buddhist monks, and more. Adventurers will enjoy paragliding, bungee jumping, and white-water rafting too.
Our setup in Kathmandu means you can go niche and join one of our many specialist hospitals to focus in on highly specific areas of nursing. There’s also opportunity for you to travel out into the community with an outreach programme that serves Kathmandu and the surrounding areas. What’s more, the best specialists in the country reside in Kathmandu, many of whom are in our main partner hospital. This means you can tap into a rare set of expertise at your leisure.
There is so much to do in Kathmandu that you could live here for six months and still not get around to seeing everything. Clusters of temples and holy shrines can be found around the city, and walking from temple to temple and listening to the monks chanting their daily prayers will be nothing if not enlightening. Make your way to the Bhoti River gorge to jump from the platform of the world’s highest bungee jump, go on an elephant safari in Chitwan National Park, observe the city below as you paraglide over beautiful landscape, and head to the bars and clubs of Thamel after a day on the wards for a lively night out.
After working in Kathmandu’s busy hospitals, you’ll benefit from spending time in more remote locations learning from those who are at the more desperate end of the healthcare provision spectrum. You’ll live with a host family in a village in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, and at a local health post you’ll work with healthcare professionals to treat the surrounding community. This is your opportunity to see how healthcare is delivered in a setting where professionals have to make do with extremely limited resources. In the afternoons you’ll be immersed in culture, from learning about beekeeping to milking buffalo and beyond.
Philippines - Dumaguete
Dumaguete is sandwiched between tropical forest on one side and calm turquoise sea on the other. Here you can dive with colourful fish in a coral reef paradise, adventure through wild jungle, and witness the mystifying healing spells of Siquijor Island’s resident witches. Nurses in Dumaguete run the wards, so expect to get involved in things you’ve never seen or done before, and might never see or do again.
Our partner hospitals in Dumaguete are ready to welcome nurses with open arms. Many of the nurses working in Dumaguete want to travel to the UK to practice, so it’s an excellent opportunity to exchange skills and knowledge. You’ll see cases of strange tropical diseases like dengue fever, rabies and severe cases of tetanus which you won’t see back home. Unlike what you’ll be used to in the UK, nurses run the busy wards you’ll be working on meaning you’ll get involved in things as never before.
Dumaguete is on a paradise island that’s surrounded by beautiful seas, and as a home to three universities is fast becoming a centre for contemporary culture (you’ll find the bars, restaurants, craft shops, boutique bakeries and more along the boulevard). If you’d prefer adventurous, trek to the reserve set deep in the heart of an untamed forest. Think waterfalls, wild animals and wilderness. You can also spend the day observing whales and dolphins off the coast of Bais island. If you’d prefer to chill-out, hit a nearby beach and grab a cocktail or two and relax in the sun. It really doesn’t get better than this.
This once in a lifetime add-on is based in a rural town surrounded by rice and fish farms, with tropical jungle and mangrove forests around every corner. Here you’ll live with our host family, and in the morning’s work in under resources clinics to gain insight into the challenges faced by local professionals when it comes to providing adequate care. Activities include drinking from coconuts grown in your host family’s garden, heading to a protected reef for a BBQ, and crab hunting in the 850 hectares of mangrove forest nearby.
Philippines - Iloilo
Iloilo is a great choice if you’re looking for sun, sea and specialist nursing placements abroad. The beaches here are incredible, as is the coral diving (which comes highly recommended), and you never need to go far to find a good bar to relax in after a day on the ward. There always seems to be a festival going on somewhere on the island too.
In Iloilo the nurses run the wards. Here patients’ families are responsible for washing and feeding, and nurses are left to the much more crucial tasks. This is a very clinically oriented placement on which you’ll get a lot of unique experience. The outpatient department oversees everything from paediatric care to treatment of rabies, and the animal bites clinic is a particular favourite among students. This is a great opportunity to exchange skills and experience with local nurses, as many of them wish to travel to the UK to further their training, meaning you’ll immediately have common ground between you.
Iloilo is in one of the best places for adventurers to explore a tropical island paradise. With one of the happiest populations in the world, beautiful beaches, scrumptious local cuisine and more, you won’t want to leave. Hot rock spas and full body massages after a long day on the wards will be a welcome treat, and beyond the city limits you can trek into the wilderness and experience being ‘cooked alive’ in a kawa hot bath (it’s actually quite relaxing). Whale watching off the coast of Cebu is also excellent fun, as is heading to Boracay for its award-winning, palm-lined beaches and dive spots.
living with the Ati tribe in a rural village on an offshore island, you’ll come to understand the ways of local people, both in a cultural and clinical context. In a rural health centre and district hospital you’ll work with a variety of patients suffering from a range of ailments at differing stages of severity. In the afternoons you’ll be introduced to the cultural aspects of rural life, such as learning how to weave as the locals do, swim in nearby waterfalls, hop from island to island in a local boat, watch giant sea turtles and much more. This experience will lend invaluable perspective to your placement in the much busier city hospitals, and shouldn’t be passed up.
Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura – an ancient centre of Buddhism – is packed with sacred stupas, time-worn temples, and princely palaces. The new city, with its restaurants, bars, and bustling markets, provides a perfect contrast to the more peaceful rural areas. Beyond the city boundaries you’ll discover safaris in the national parks, paradise beaches on the unspoiled coastline, and more.
Practicing in Anuradhapura will give you the chance to understand the challenges tackled by local nurses on a daily basis. Working in the hospital we’ve partnered with, you’ll gain totally unique experience from a range of areas that are of interest to you. It’s entirely possible to rotate through a number of departments to gain a more diverse understanding both clinically speaking, and in terms of how departments interact. You’ll also see cases that are rare or non-existent back at home. For example dengue fever, tuberculosis, and malnutrition are surprisingly common here.
With more than than 50 temples, shrines, and stupas to its name, Anuradhapura is the epitome of beautiful and ancient Buddhist cities. However, with a rise in development, the ‘new city’ is thriving. Here you’ll find hawkers selling their wares in the markets, traditional restaurants, and bars with live music all run by friendly Sri Lankan locals. Beyond the city you’ll find Sigiriya (Lion Rock), the top of which you can climb to in order to admire the ruins of an ancient palace that once stood at its summit. A hot air balloon ride over Dambulla’s jungles will also take your breath away. Wilpattu National Park is where you need to be for a safari, and you can make your way to the pristine, white sand beaches of Trincomalee for some well-deserved post-placement rest and relaxation.
Follow your experienced guide into the heart of the jungle to locate a remote village in which you’ll learn the many facets of the ancient art of Ayurveda. You’ll spend your mornings with a master healer whose understanding of this ancient ‘tree medicine’ came down to him from his father, and his father before him. You’ll work with the healer to create remedies from tree barks, plants, and herbs from surrounding jungle. While in the village you’ll stay with our host family who’ll show you the ways of the village. Your afternoons will be filled with cultural activities like ox and cart rides, swimming in the beautiful local lake at sunset, and receiving full body massages at Ayurveda spas.
Sri Lanka - Kandy
Sri Lanka is a country full of some of the friendliest people on the planet, is staggeringly beautiful, and has an ancient tie to healthcare that spans back over 5000 years. Whether you’re interested in exploring Sri Lanka’s lush wilderness in search of elephants, or simply relaxing on stretches of golden beach, this country has something for everyone.
In our Sri Lankan partner hospitals you’ll have excellent opportunity to get a breadth of experience across a number of departments. The busy hospital we’re partnered with offers nurses the opportunity to interact with a number of specialists, meaning access to a body of knowledge that would be otherwise inaccessible. Many students choose to rotate every one to two weeks into a new field to get a clearer picture of Sri Lanka’s system. You’ll also see cases here that are rare in the UK such as dengue fever, tuberculosis and malnutrition, and cases that are much more advanced stages than you’ll be used to.
Sri Lanka is a country of unmatched natural beauty. You’ll find yourself walking across canopies above tea plantations, on safari spotting Jaguars and leopards, white-water rafting through fearsome river rapids, surfing off coastal islands, diving in the deep on coral reefs to spot tropical fish, hill trekking through rainforests, and that’s just for starters. What’s more, the city of Kandy, where our private house is based, is a focal point of cultural activity. Whether you want to spend the evening in the city’s bars to try locally brewed beers, or in the restaurants sampling the region’s famously spicy cuisine, there’s always something new and interesting going on.
Sri Lanka is the only destination in our roster that offers this add-on. This handcrafted Ayurveda experience is unique to Sri Lanka. Alongside an experienced practitioner who inherited his knowledge from his father and his father before him, you’ll craft medicine from plants and barks, and administer it to patients in need. You’ll stay with our friendly host family, and be ushered into the life and culture of the local area. In the afternoons you’ll have the chance to take river canoe rides, receive treatments at an Ayurveda spa, watch the sunset while swimming in the lake, and much more.
Ghana - Takoradi
Ghana was the first programme we ever opened and today it’s offers higher quality nursing placements than ever before. Perched on the edge of West Africa, Takoradi (the city in which we’re based) has picture-perfect golden, palm tree-lined beaches, dark and beautiful colonial forts dotted up and down the coast and fishing villages everywhere in-between. The centre of town is a busy focal point, as the Takoradi is a port city that has people travelling through from far and wide.
Nurses in Ghana will be pleased to learn that this is a truly authentic experience of Ghanaian healthcare. We’re partnered with a number of hospitals and clinics in the region including a regional hospital, and several health centres and clinics. You’ll have the opportunity to work in a number of departments, and when in country you can expect to see a range of unusual ailments like typhoid psychosis, malaria, TB and more. You won’t find a nursing elective experience like this anywhere else
Ghana is an uncommon example of an African country that displays nearly all of the region's positive features. Stunning coastline, great wild game parks inland, built-up cities, isolated villages and more. Visit the Voltaire region to witness the incredible natural phenomenon of waterfalls running into each other, or make your way to the rubber estates to see a side of agriculture that goes back centuries and has a rather dark history. If you want to see a completely distinct side of the country, head out to the leper colony in a much more rural setting.
While it’s true that the experience you’ll gain in Ghana’s city hospitals will open your mind to the challenges faced by local healthcare professionals, spending time in a remote village Will help you see the broader picture that lingers just under the surface. Living with a host family you’ll be completely immersed in village life. Nearby you’ll find long stretches of empty golden beach, and not a tourist in sight. In the morning’s you’ll work in a local community pharmacy where you’ll gain insight into the struggles faced by health providers in such low-resource environments. In the afternoons you’ll be introduced to many aspects of village culture, and enjoy endless stretches of tourist free golden beaches.
Peru - Arequipa
Peru is one of the most culturally rich countries in South America, and is home to the misty Amazonian jungle, weathered mountaintop city remains, mouth-watering local cuisines and mysterious clues left by ancient civilisations. Your trip to Peru is sure to be a unique adventure indeed.
Nursing in Peru is entirely different to what you’ll be used in the UK. Generally speaking nurses tend not to specialise. Not only will you learn from the cultural differences you’ll observe in the hospital, but you’ll also participate in practices that will be totally unfamiliar to you. The hospital with which we’re partnered is known for its oncology Department. This environment will allow you to understand the working relationship between muliple disciplines. You will also be involved in outpatient work, and have the opportunity to work in an HIV centre and TB centre, both of which are run exclusively by nurses.
As far as South American countries go, Peru is arguably the most interesting of them all. The city of Arequipa (where we're based) artfully blends old and new; a number of the buildings here are constructed from white volcanic stone that is centuries-old, many of which modern shops inhabit. Beyond the city boundaries, you’ll discover a new world begging to be explored. Visiting Colca to peer into the second deepest canyon in the world, battling white-water rapids on a nearby river, and trekking to Machu Picchu, the Incan mountaintop city, are just a few of the things you can expect to enjoy.
Peru is primarily a Spanish speaking country. In order to get the most from your placement we strongly recommend you undertake our Intensive Spanish Course. On this course (focused specifically on nursing) you'll enjoy an entire week of lessons made up of one-to-one sessions taught in the school’s beautiful garden, and afternoon clinical role-play sessions that will simulate situations you’ll likely encounter in hospital. No boring grammar drills, just fun, practical language learning that you can use right away. Being able to understand your colleagues and patients is of critical importance in a clinical setting.
From our blog
For many of us in the western world, the word ‘Ayurveda’ roughly translates to spa treatments, aromatic oils, and maybe some panpipe music. Is there more we can learn from the practice than massages alone? You better believe it, says Hannah Peck.Read more
Here's why you should stop thinking about nursing abroad as a luxury and start thinking of it as a necessity.Read more