We need hospital and community nurses to help improve the quality of care in some of the poorest countries of the world.

Roles are generally longer term, ranging from one to two years, but we also have occasional short-term assignments for up to six months.

You’ll be a registered nurse with a minimum 2 years’ practical experience, ideally with experience of training and managing others. Ward management experience is also useful. We have very occasional short-term assignments for up to six months, for which you’ll need more extensive experience.

What you’ll be doing

Your responsibilities will depend upon your particular placement, but all tend to involve a strong teaching component.

You could be helping train more qualified nurses, combining classroom teaching with clinical supervision. Or you might be providing on-the-job support to nurse colleagues, helping improve ward management and professional development. 

  • Example role

Please note this is just an example placement to illustrate the kind of roles that may come up in your skill area. To view our live roles, click ‘Get started’ below.

Nurse trainer
Sierra Leone

Although remarkable progress has been made in rebuilding Sierra Leone since the end of the conflict in 2002, the decade-long civil war has caused extensive damage to social sectors. The country currently has some of the worst health indicators in the world, with 283 children out of 1,000 dying before they reach the age of five. This is mainly due to inadequate basic health services and malnutrition.

VSO opened its health programme in 2008 and volunteers are working to improve the availability of essential health care in rural areas. As a nurse trainer you can contribute to this goal by training the next generation of Sierra Leonean nurses. Working at the Eastern Polytechnic in Kenema District, which opened in 2004, you’ll ensure that more local nurses can train, and ultimately practice in their home communities.

What you'll be doing

  • Teaching state-enrolled community nurses at the School of Nursing
  • Monitoring and advising staff and students on clinical rotation in the district hospitals and peripheral health units
  • Providing ongoing supportive supervision to nurse students
  • Participating in curriculum development and training syllabus for courses

What you'll need

You’ll need to be a registered nurse with at least five years’ experience in nursing including teaching, training and mentoring of others. Confidence in your skills and the ability to work independently without supervision are essential. Patience, flexibility and a positive attitude will help you to adapt to live and work in a resource-poor developing country. You’ll also need good interpersonal skills to develop strong relationships with your colleagues and students.

And the rest...

Sierra Leone borders Liberia to the southeast, the Republic of Guinea to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the West. You’ll be based in Kenema, the district’s capital, located about 200 miles from the capital Freetown. There are plenty of shops and the town has a 24-hour electricity supply, piped water as well as UNICEF water wells, in case of shortages.

We’ll ask you to commit to 12-24 months to make a sustainable contribution to our development goals. In return, we’ll give you comprehensive financial, personal and professional support. We'll provide you with extensive training before your placement, and our support package includes a local living allowance, return flights, accommodation, insurance and more. When you return to your home country, we'll help you to resettle and many of our returned volunteers stay involved with us long after their placement ends.

Next steps

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Richard Feinmann, chest physician, Uganda

Richard Feinmann, chest physician (Uganda, health)

Chest physician Richard Feinmann is volunteering in Uganda, where life expectancy is just 51 and over a third of the population live in poverty. Here Richard describes the challenges facing patients and why exposure to these challenges is so crucial for UK health professionals.



What are VSO’s recruitment criteria?

You must have a minimum of XX years’ experience in your field, gained in the last five years