WHY GO ON A NURSING ELECTIVE ABROAD?

A nursing elective abroad is an opportunity for you to undertake a placement in a busy, low-resource hospital in the developing world. Every year we have more and more nursing students undertaking their nursing placement abroad with us.

We cater to all nursing branches — adult, child, mental health, or learning disability nursing. You can completely tailor your experience to suit your clinical interests

We cater to all nursing branches — adult, child, mental health, or learning disability nursing. You can completely tailor your experience to suit your clinical interests.

On a nursing elective placement, you’ll learn about nursing abroad in a healthcare system that’s completely different from what you’re used to, and observe practises you’ve never seen.

Imagine getting experience with tropical diseases, seeing how social and cultural issues affect local clinical practises, and coming 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.

With us, you’ll get:

A tailored elective in your choice of departments | Comprehensive pre-trip preparation | 24/7 in-country support team | Private, catered accommodation | Airport pickup

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

For a more detailed step-by-step guide to how our service works, click here.

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.

Whether you prefer to travel solo or with a group, weekend trips are a particular highlight. From trekking through the Himalayan Mountains to rafting down the Zambezi, you have plenty of opportunity for adventure, and to immerse yourself in your host culture.

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

Mexico - Merida
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In our partner hospital, there are excellent opportunities in both the adult and paediatric emergency departments. Learn how local specialists stabilise patients with life-threatening conditions. And learn how they deal with everything from injuries sustained through RTAs to heart attacks. There are also opportunities in oncology, haematology, high-specialty internal medicine, and critical care to name a few. You could also learn how local specialists treat tropical diseases like chikungunya, and West Nile virus. This nursing elective is suitable for adult and child nursing branches.

Vietnam - Hue
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On a nursing elective placement in Vietnam you’ll see a lack of primary care options meaning you see cases far more advanced than you’re used to. You can spend time in OBG, NICU, cardiovascular, orthopaedics, surgery and paediatrics among others. In Vietnam, patients’ families provide the bedside care normally attended to by professionals. This frees up local nurses’ time to get involved with clinical aspects of nursing like cannulation and wound care. You can also shadow doctors on their rounds to get a broader understanding of the healthcare system. 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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When it comes to nursing electives in Africa, you should give Lusaka serious consideration. You will undertake your placement in a university teaching hospital that has a setup similar to what you’ll be used to back home. But that’s where the similarities end. The hospital deals with care plans, bed baths, and wound care with far fewer resources than you’re used to. You can even get experience with administering chemotherapy. See cases of leptospirosis, septic open wounds and malaria — one of the most common diseases in the country. You can even observe in theatre if it’s something you’re interested in. 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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On a nursing placement in Phnom Penh you’ll learn how local professionals treat unfamiliar tropical diseases from TB to typhoid. You can also gain experience in areas like the ED, OBG, ENT, traumatology, and urology, among others. But, limited resources and cultural and religious implications significantly change how local nurses practise. You can also spend time in a specialist paediatric hospital, where you can choose to get experience across the entire breadth of departments. 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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In Kandy tropical infectious diseases are common. You’ll see cases of dengue fever, chikungunya, and chagas. You can rotate through psychiatry, surgery, OBG, and general medicine among others. Culture, religion, and a lack of resources affect nursing practise here. Some treatments will differ from, or even contradict what you’ve been taught. Our partner hospital is also known for its extraordinary range of ICUs including: surgical, medical, cardiothoracic and the coronary care unit. 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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Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura
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As far as elective placements for student nurses go, Anuradhapura is an excellent option. The use of pesticides on crops has also meant chronic kidney disease is a major issue in rural areas. You’ll see the direct effects of this issue in the Renal Transplant Unit which sees 80% of all related cases in northern Sri Lanka. You’ll encounter other unfamiliar cases too — tropical diseases like chikungunya, hepatitis, and malaria for example. This programme is suitable for adult, child and mental health nursing branches. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Anuradhapura.

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Philippines - Iloilo
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On a nursing elective placement abroad, you’ll see conditions unfamiliar to you, but typical of the country you’re visiting. In Iloilo, you’ll witness clubfoot for example, tropical diseases like dengue fever and TB, you might even see the odd rooster or snake bite. Areas include anaesthesiology, and the ED where you can see patients with respiratory failure, acute gastroenteritis, burns, rabies, hernias, and hyperglycemia. Being near some of the best English speaking universities, there's plenty of opportunity to exchange skills and practices with local students. 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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In Dar es Salaam you’ll see conditions like cerebral malaria, sickle cell anemia, HIV, and cholera. Areas you can spend time in include paediatrics, the infectious diseases unit, theatre, and surgical wards like neurosurgery. Our partner hospitals in Dar es Salaam are under-resourced. Local nurses have had to adopt ingenuity to get around this limitation, and you will learn this from them in turn. You will have unique opportunities on both the psychiatric ward and in anaesthesiology. As far as nursing electives in Africa go, Dar es Salaam is an exceptional choice. 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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If you’re looking at nursing placements in Africa, Takoradi might be the programme for you.  In Takoradi you have the choice to undertake your placement in a number of partner hospitals and clinics. One of our partner hospitals is the biggest and best-equipped in the city. On your placement in Ghana, you’ll see conditions like acute malaria, diabetic gangrene, and typhoid psychosis. You’ll see how care is delivered very differently in familiar areas like the ED, general medicine, orthopaedics, and diabetes and hypertension clinics. The hospital also has a busy HIV clinic that you can attend. 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.

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Nepal - Kathmandu
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As far as elective placements for student nurses go, in our partner hospital in Kathmandu, you’ll encounter patients with conditions like Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever, malnutrition, and snake, monkey and dog bites. You might even see resulting cases of rabies. The way local nurses approach treatment depends on the level of resource they have at any one time. So, even in familiar departments like the ED, surgery, general medicine and paediatrics, you can expect nursing practise to differ a lot. Kathmandu is also great for specialising in areas like ENT, dermatology, psychiatry, forensic medicine and cardiothoracics. 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 placement in Pokhara, you’ll see communicable diseases like diphtheria, TB, and typhoid. Bites from tropical insects and snakes are common too. You can rotate through departments like surgery, OBG, paediatrics and orthopaedics. But practices and treatments will differ from what you’re used to because the country’s healthcare system has such limited resources. You can even observe procedures like, myomectomies, laparotomies and hysterectomies in the obstetric theatre in the OBG department. 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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When it comes to nursing elective placements in Arequipa, you’ll see conditions arising from poor sanitary conditions in some of Peru’s economically disadvantaged areas. The hospital’s approach to infection control might also surprise you. You can rotate through areas like surgery, paediatrics, trauma and general medicine among others. Spending time in the ED’s critical observation room is also worthwhile. Our partner hospital in Arequipa houses the largest oncology department in Southern Peru, and one of the country’s two brachytherapy units which in turn means a fantastic elective placement for student nurses. On your placement here you’re likely to see cancers that are uncommon back home. This programme is suitable for adult and child nursing branches. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Arequipa.

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"The most memorable case that I was involved in was helping out in the national emergency after the Bara storm."

Holly West, King's College London 2019

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"I am entirely grateful for being able to witness this firsthand as it is not something you can explain to others."

Ruby Sullivan, King's College London 2019

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"I got to use equipment which appeared to be very outdated and sparse in some areas of the hospital."

Koren Harper, Anglia Ruskin University 2019

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"If you’re thinking about doing an overseas placement - do it! It’s the best thing I have ever done"

Abi Follows, University of Nottingham 2019

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"What I first noticed in the hospital was the lack of resources and equipment."

Isabel Jeffery, King's College London 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. Peru

6. Mexico

7. Ghana

8. The Philippines

9. Nepal

10. Sri Lanka.

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