WHY GO ON A NURSING ELECTIVE ABROAD?

A nursing elective abroad is your opportunity to undertake a placement in a busy, low-resource hospital in the developing world. As a nursing student, undertaking a nursing placement abroad with us will give your CV a huge boost, helping you land that dream job.

We cater to all nursing branches:

Adult nursing | Child nursing | Mental health nursing | Learning disability nursing

On a nursing elective placement, you’ll get experience with tropical diseases, see how social and cultural issues affect local clinical practises, and come face-to-face with global health issues right there in the field.

THE CLINICAL EXPERIENCE

The clinical experience is all about challenging yourself and gaining perspective through new experience. 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

You will also see major differences in the fundamentals of nursing too. 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.

 

Your hospital placement runs Monday to Friday, leaving your evenings and weekends free to explore the destination you’ve chosen.

WHAT’S INCLUDED?

The service you get with us is end-to-end. That means we will support you before, during and even after your trip.

The service covers all bases, taking the stress out of planning a nursing placement abroad.

Arrivals are every Sunday, 52 weeks of the year (you can travel whenever suits you), and durations start from one week.

YOU GET A ONE-TO-ONE SERVICE THAT INCLUDES:

  • A tailored overseas elective in your choice of departments
  • Comprehensive pre-trip preparation
  • Accommodation in a private, catered house
  • A 24/7 in-country team to support you
  • Airport pickup

Click here to see the full list of inclusions

TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES

Your clinical placement is the main focus of your trip. But you will also have plenty of time outside of the hospital to experience whichever country you’ve chosen.

You'll make lots of like-minded friends in the Work the World house. And you'll all go on big weekend trips together — from trekking through the Himalayas to whitewater rafting down the Zambezi. Whether you’re travelling solo or as a group, this is your chance to do something big before you graduate into the working world.

WHERE DO I START?

Your first port of call is to speak to our team. Our team are ready to answer any and all of your questions, and will paint a vivid picture of what a nursing elective placement could look like for you.

Get in touch using the short enquiry form.

DESTINATIONS

Indonesia - Yogyakarta
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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. 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.

Mexico - Merida
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On a nursing student 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.

Vietnam - Hue
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On a nursing elective placement in Vietnam you’ll see how local culture can affect clinical practise. 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 practises. It’s worth noting that we can host you in Hue if you’re studying adult, child or mental health nursing.

Zambia - Lusaka
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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. 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.

Cambodia - Phnom Penh
Monk in Angkor Wat Cambodia. Ta Prohm Khmer ancient Buddhist temple in jungle forest
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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 in your placement hospital, 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.

Monk in Angkor Wat Cambodia. Ta Prohm Khmer ancient Buddhist temple in jungle forest

Sri Lanka - Kandy
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Healthcare is free for patients in Sri Lanka, but culture, religion, and a lack of resources still impact local nursing practises. 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. 

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Philippines - Iloilo
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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. 

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Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
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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.

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Ghana - Takoradi
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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. Of course, there’s a big difference in the meaning of ‘best-equipped’ between 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. his 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.

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Nepal - Kathmandu
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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.

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Nepal - Pokhara
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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.

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Peru - Arequipa
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Peruvian nurses need to be adaptable so they can handle all the different cases that come with a high patient load. Traditional nursing branches don’t really exist in Arequipa, so you can go ‘off branch’ and get experience in lots of different departments (you’ll need to speak to us to talk through your options here). Nursing elective placements in Arequipa take place in either the oldest hospital in Southern Peru, a government tertiary hospital, or in a ‘Micro Redes’ clinic designed to relieve pressure on hospitals by delivering primary care. As far as elective placements for student nurses go, Arequipa is an excellent option. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Arequipa. This programme is suitable for adult and child nursing branches.

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"In one simple sentence, this international placement was an experience of a lifetime."

Aaron Hobin, University of Central Lancashire 2019

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"I made incredible memories and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity with amazing people."

Sophie Dye, University of Nottingham 2019

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"We spent our time island hopping and visiting the caves and surrounding beaches."

Jade Matthews, Teesside University 2019

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"The patients’ family members would often sleep on the floor under the beds!"

Niamh Temple, University of Hertfordshire 2019

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"There were many opportunities to learn new things throughout my placement."

Jacqueline Rhodes, University of Portsmouth 2019

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What is a nursing elective?

A nursing elective is a clinical placement that nursing students undertake as part of their degree. Every year, more and more nursing students are doing their nursing electives overseas. To create your own customised nursing elective, get in touch with us today.

Can nurses practise internationally?

Yes, nurses can practise internationally. If you are studying towards a nursing degree (or you are a recent graduate), you’re eligible for an international nursing elective with us. Get in touch today to explore your options.

How long is a nursing elective?

A nursing elective is as long as you want it to be. Our minimum placement duration is 2 weeks, but students typically travel on their nursing electives for 4 weeks. There is no upper limit to how long you can travel for.

What are the most popular countries for nursing electives?

Our most popular countries for nursing electives are (in no particular order):

1. Tanzania

2. Zambia 

3. Vietnam

4. Cambodia

5. Mexico

6. Ghana

7. The Philippines

8. Nepal

9. Sri Lanka.

10. Indonesia

What are the benefits of a nursing elective?

The benefits of a nursing elective include:

  • Expanding your clinical knowledge and skill set
  • Becoming more confident, independent and resourceful
  • Making yourself more attractive to employers
  • Doing some proper travelling
  • Building your personal and professional network
  • Sharpening your language and communication skills
  • Renewing your perspective on the NHS