Using Your MPH to Better Humanity

by A Guest Author

Like most successful community college transfers, if you are anticipating your university graduation and starting a master of public health or a similar program, you may have already started brainstorming all the satisfying and rewarding ways your new degree can help you better humanity.

Because the primary focus of the nursing profession and the greater umbrella of public health is in fact to nurture, support and care for people who need medical attention, it is not a stretch to assume that most  graduates want and expect to be able to make a difference in people’s lives by using their education and skills.

But if you are seeking out additional opportunities to better the lives of the neglected segments of society, there are a number of ways you can use your off-hours as a volunteer to do exactly that. Volunteer programs in need of qualified nurses have grown in popularity as nurses have become increasingly frustrated with the insanity and paperwork of their professional lives.

Read on about some exciting opportunities for using your MPH degree to better humanity and put your transfer education and training to good use helping others.

Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders is a volunteer program that accepts doctors, nurses, and even non-medical personnel to perform volunteer medical relief in 60 countries around the world. The efforts of Doctors Without Borders are focused in geographic areas where medical professionals are insufficient to meet the need for medical care.

There is a small monthly stipend offered to any Doctors Without Borders volunteer who is selected to work in the field, as well as other important benefits such as comprehensive health and life insurance coverage, reimbursement for required vaccinations, and other expense relief programs to make serving attractive.

Professionals who are needed include surgeons, doctors (general practice), nurses and registered nurses, nurse anesthesiologists, lab technicians, midwives, mental health practitioners and many more public health professionals. There is a rigorous nine-step screening process all candidates go through before being accepted to serve in the program. Doctors Without Borders also steps in to meet international health crises, such as the cholera outbreak in Haiti following the devastating earthquake of 2010.

Faith Community Nurse Movement

The faith community nurse movement is a very loosely coordinated effort on the part of local faith and medical communities to provide no-fee nursing and medical attention to underserved or neglected populations, which often include shut-ins, children, the elderly and those who have no health insurance benefits.

Upon retirement from the public health care field, some nurses choose to offer their services part or full-time within the faith community nurse movement. Nurses who are active in their profession may choose to offer a few hours each week or month as their schedules permit. Some organizations and congregations maintain organized programs to offer medical relief to local communities through a network of volunteer nurses and other medical professionals, while in other areas the effort might be less structured. Faith community nursing volunteers do not ask about financial means or inquire about healthcare benefits with the patients they see.

They simply show up and provide the care. Volunteers also often offer their time volunteering at community health fairs, local clinics, women’s shelters, food pantries, blood drives, and other charitable causes where nursing expertise is in high demand and often equally short supply.

The Red Cross

While locating a legitimate charitable cause to which you can volunteer your nursing expertise can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a very thick haystack, the Red Cross has a distinguished, global presence as a respected relief and aid organization.

Red Cross nurses have been revered since the organization started providing wartime medical relief in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. Today, Red Cross nursing volunteers provide medical aid all over the world in initiatives large and small.  You can even join the Red Cross Nursing Reserve to be on call in the event of a need for international disaster relief aid from nursing professionals.

Image Provided by UK Department for International Development from Flickr’s Creative Commons

About the Author

Paolo Neel is a yoga instructor and is pursuing his MPH MBA dual degree online; he hopes to put it to good use soon.

This post was written by A Guest Author

This post was written by a guest author. If you have high quality, useful information to share with students, send us an email or click Write For Us to learn more. And in case you're wondering - yes, you can promote yourself in this fancy author byline.

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