Boost your career on a Nursing elective abroad
Go on a once-in-a-lifetime nursing elective abroad with Work the World and you’ll get career-boosting clinical experience in an overseas hospital. Then in your free time, you’ll have life-changing travel experiences with new friends.
These are not ‘off the shelf’ placements — you can tailor your experience to your interests. You choose everything from the destination down to the individual departments you want to get experience in.
You’ll find the experience to be life-changing. And that’s true whether you’re a nursing student or a graduate.
Why go on an overseas nursing elective?
- Unique experience that puts you ahead of your peers
- Stand out to employers
- Strengthen your academic profile
- Build a network to tap into during your career
- Gain perspective that reframes your view of the NHS
- Build confidence by stepping out of your comfort zone
- Get inspiration around where you might specialise
Book with confidence
It’s official - overseas placements have been given the go-ahead and our programmes are open!
Plans can change, so once you’ve secured your space, you can make unlimited changes to your travel dates, absolutely free.
Eye-opening clinical Placement
This is your chance to hone your clinical skills as a nursing student or graduate in a low-resource hospital setting in Africa, Asia, or Latin America.
Nursing abroad is all about challenging yourself and gaining a different perspective. You’ll come to realise that being able to practise the 6Cs is a luxury of a wealthier healthcare system.
Some things you will observe on your nursing elective placement include:
- Different cultural attitudes towards care
- Religious beliefs affecting practise
- Patients who can’t afford even the most basic treatment
- Extremely late presentations and advanced conditions
On your nursing placement abroad, you'll also see major differences in the fundamentals of nursing practice. For example, in many of our destinations, families take responsibility for many tasks that would (in the UK) fall to a nurse, like personal care.
Branches for nursing electives abroad
Looking for nursing experience abroad? Choose your nursing branch below to see what you can expect from an overseas elective, or stay on the page to find out more general information about a nursing placement abroad.
Remember — you can customise your overseas placement. So if you want to combine branches for your elective placement, or try a branch different from the one you're studying, you're welcome to do so.
As a nursing student or graduate, your clinical placement is the focus of your trip. But your free time in the afternoons and weekends will be packed full of experiences like:
- Relaxing on palm-lined, white-sand beaches
- Getting close to elephants, lions and giraffes on safari
- Swimming with curious sea turtles on warm tropical reefs
- Hiking (or paragliding!) through the Himalays
- Spending a weekend hopping between paradise islands
But it's the people you share it with that really make your Work the World trip memorable. You'll live with other healthcare students and graduates in a big private house.
The service you get with us is end-to-end. That means we will support you before, during and even after your trip.
- Pre-departure preparation with our UK team
- Structured, supervised nursing elective placement
- Private, catered accommodation
- 24/7 in-country team
- Airport pick up and drop off
- + more
Arrivals are every Sunday, 52 weeks of the year — travel when it suits you. Nursing elective placement durations start from one week.
Indonesia - Yogyakarta
Find out more
Nurses in Indonesia face several challenges, the patient to nurse ratio being one of them. In the UK, we have around 150 nurses per 10,000 people, whereas in Indonesia there are roughly 13 per 10,000. This makes it harder for local nurses to manage conditions like tuberculosis and diarrheal diseases, which (while in decline) are still prevalent in Indonesia. At our partner hospital, you’ll see the incredible work local nurses are doing to make up the shortfall. While nursing abroad, you’ll also see how a sudden change in diet and an increase in tobacco usage has led to an explosion of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases among the local population.
Ghana - Takoradi
Find out more
Consider Takoradi If you’re looking for nursing placements in Africa. You’ve got the option to undertake your placement in a number of our partner hospitals and clinics. One of our partner hospitals is the biggest and best-equipped in the city. While nursing abroad, you'll see there's a big difference in the meaning of ‘best-equipped’ when it comes to Ghana and the UK. Make no mistake, this is an eye-opening placement in Ghana, and on it you’ll get a snapshot of the challenges that local professionals face day in, day out. This programme is suitable for adult, child, mental health and learning disability nursing branches. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Takoradi.
Sri Lanka - Kandy
Find out more
Healthcare is free for patients in Sri Lanka, but culture, religion, and a lack of resources still impact local nursing practices. The lack of resources will be the most prominent difference, and you’ll see how local staff have found ways to make the most with what little they have. One example of this is the sterilising and reusing equipment that would be single use in the UK. For instance, fabric bandages are sent away to be thoroughly sterilised and used again. Our partner hospital is connected to a large nursing college, so you’ll have the opportunity to interact with local students, too. This programme is suitable for adult, child and mental health nursing branches. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kandy.
Mexico - Merida
Find out more
On a nursing student elective you can get experience in Merida’s oldest hospital. The hospital is government run and focuses on the general population — particularly those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. You’ll see a lack of basic equipment and overcrowded wards. For contrast, you can also choose to spend time in our high speciality partner hospital. This institution is also government run, yet offers state-of-the-art treatments. You’ll see that this hospital has much more of a patient focus. Your experience in this hospital will be less about battling high patient numbers and more about intensive treatments. This nursing elective is suitable for adult and child nursing branches. You can now also get experience in a specialist psychiatric hospital so please enquire for more information.
Philippines - Iloilo
Find out more
Nurses run the wards in Iloilo, leaving patients’ families responsible for each patient’s bedside care. That means you won’t be expected to help wash and feed patients, but instead get involved in the more clinical side of nursing. On your nursing elective placement abroad here, you’ll see that patients do have access to government subsidised healthcare through ‘PhilHealth’ insurance, but policies are limited. The healthcare system may be progressive, but you’ll still see how the most economically disadvantaged patients struggle to afford certain treatments. Our partner hospital also hosts some students from local universities, so you can tap into their knowledge too. This programme is suitable for adult, child and mental health nursing branches. Read stories from those who've already travelled with us to Iloilo.
Vietnam - Hue
Find out more
On a nursing elective placement in Vietnam you’ll see how local culture can affect clinical practices. For example, patients’ families normally provide bedside care for patients,which frees up local nurses’ time to get involved with clinical aspects of nursing. You’ll also see how a lack of primary care options (and patients coming from rural farming areas) leads to patients presenting cases that are further advanced than you’re used to. You can even see how traditional medicine is used in Vietnam alongside more modern practices. It’s worth noting that we can host you in Hue if you’re studying adult, child or mental health nursing.
Zambia - Lusaka
Find out more
The hospital we’ve partnered with to host electives in Lusaka is actually four hospitals on one campus. There’s the adult hospital, paediatric hospital, mother and newborn hospital, and the cancer and diseases hospital — you can experience as many of them as you’ve got time for. The hospital structures are similar to what you’re used to, but the similarities end there. You'll see how cultural and economical issues affect nursing in Africa. Local nurses have to deal with even the most basic things — care plans, bed baths, and wound care — with extremely limited equipment. The knock-on effects of an HIV epidemic in the 90s puts even more pressure on local nurses. Give Lusaka proper consideration because it offers one of the best nursing electives in Africa. This programme is suitable for adult, child and mental health nursing branches.
Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
Find out more
Our partner hospitals in Dar es Salaam are under-resourced. Of course, this is the norm for local nurses, so they’ve come up with clever ways to get around the limitations — you’ll learn these techniques firsthand. Healthcare is not free in Tanzania. Patients have the option of private healthcare, but few can afford it. You may even see patients turned away if they cannot afford to pay. Combine this with a lack of primary healthcare options in Tanzania and you get very busy departments full of patients with advanced conditions. You should seriously consider Dar es Salaam if you’re looking for nursing electives in Africa. This programme is suitable for adult, child and mental health nursing branches. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Dar es Salaam.
Nepal - Kathmandu
Find out more
Our elective placements for student nurses in Kathmandu allow you to get experience in a range of specialised institutions. These include a major teaching hospital, a specialist maternity and women’s hospital, or a specialist children’s hospital. The teaching hospital has 22 departments — the greatest number of specialties of any institution in Nepal. 45% of Nepal’s population are under 15, so as the children’s hospital is the only one of its kind in the country, you can expect a busy placement here. Offering family planning and reproductive services to the city’s women, the women’s and maternity hospital is progressive, especially considering its cultural context. This programme is suitable for adult, child and mental health nursing branches. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kathmandu.
Nepal - Pokhara
Find out more
On your nursing elective in Pokhara, you’ll see that (unlike in the UK) patients’ families provide all the bedside care like washing and feeding. This means you typically get a more clinically-focused placement than you would in the UK. You can choose to undertake your placement in a private teaching hospital, a medical college, or a large regional hospital. Patient fees are subsidised by the government in both of the teaching hospitals. But even with this subsidisation, patients from economically disadvantaged backgrounds (the vast majority of patients) still struggle to pay. Another unique aspect of this placement is joining local nursing students on ward rounds to exchange skills and information. This programme is suitable for adult, child and mental health nursing branches. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Pokhara.
Cambodia - Phnom Penh
Find out more
If you do your nursing placement in Phnom Penh, you’ll see how the Cambodian government is doing what it can to modernise healthcare. Even so, equipment is ageing and resources are limited, so staff often have to rely on clinical judgement alone to diagnose patients. But while you’re nursing abroad, you’ll also see how traditional and religious beliefs still deeply influence how nursing is practised. This programme is suitable for adult and child nursing branches. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Phnom Penh.
"My supervisors were incredible. They spoke excellent English and were really keen to get to know me, my abilities and to get me involved."
Sabina Davis, University of Gloucestershire 2021Read more
"We saw differences right away. There was a lot of malaria, which obviously isn’t something we see much of in the UK if at all."
Lisa Gibbons, University of Lincoln 2021Read more
"It gave me more incentive to learn how healthcare professionals overcome such challenges."
Emilia McClymont, University of Portsmouth 2021Read more
"My advice to anyone considering going overseas is to go in with an open mind and a positive attitude. Ghana was incredible and it met all my expectations."
Shawna Riley, The University of Akron 2021Read more
"Tanzania turned out to be amazing – I wouldn’t change it for anything."
Sarah-Jane Binder, Bournemouth University 2020Read more
What do our nursing electives offer?
A Work the World nursing elective gives you the chance to undertake a clinical placement in the developing world. You will spend time in a low-resource hospital and see unfamiliar practices and advanced conditions. You can even choose the departments you want to rotate through. We cater to all nursing branches including: - Adult Nursing, Child Nursing, Mental Health Nursing and Learning Disability Nursing.
What are the benefits of a Work the World nursing elective?
The benefits of our nursing electives include:
- Getting invaluable clinical experience in the field
- Making yourself more attractive to employers
- Building your professional network
- Doing some proper travelling
How long is a Work the World nursing elective?
A nursing elective is as long as you want it to be. Our minimum placement duration is one week, but students typically travel on their nursing electives for 4 weeks. There is no upper limit to how long you can travel for.
What is a nursing elective placement?
A nursing elective placement is your opportunity to get some real-world experience in a clinical setting. Undertaking your nursing elective placement overseas massively expands the scope of what you'll be able to achieve. It also looks great to employers as it shows your passion for your vocation.