Are you a nurse, medical student, nursing student, physical therapist, physician, dentist, nurse’s aide, or other healthcare professional? Honduras Child Alliance has partnered with the Hospital Oken’s and a public clinic in the city of La Ceiba to provide a comprehensive medical experience for volunteers in varying stages of healthcare training!
Hospital Oken’s is a social security hospital run by the Honduran government. This means that it is a public hospital for those who are able to receive social security insurance from the Honduran government and their dependents; however, the government’s input into the social security fund is minimal and, even for those who are eligible, supplies and medications are scarce and it can be difficult to receive care. With this in mind, volunteers will experience an extremely high patient volume and patient acuity and will be exposed to many different diseases and pathologies not seen in most developed countries. In Hospital Oken’s, volunteers will be staffed in the busy emergency room and medical wards and will work under the supervision of the doctors and nurses there. There will be opportunities to attend patient rounds with the staff and assist with patient care within the spectrum of the volunteer’s training. This hospital sees it all – from obstetrics to pediatrics to surgery and everything in between, there is a lot to learn!
Hospital Oken’s is fully staffed by licensed Honduran professionals. Volunteers will need to submit any healthcare credentials they have earned (nursing/medical licenses, letters on school letterhead certifying their enrollment and stage/year of training for students, CVs/resumes, first aid training, etc) and will not be allowed to work outside of their scope. However, the hospital staff are supportive and friendly and they enjoy sharing their knowledge while coaching our international healthcare volunteers. No matter what stage of training you’re in, there is always something to learn and a way for everyone to contribute!
If volunteers choose to work at the public clinic, they will see a variety of patients with less acute, primary care needs. The costs of private physicians’ clinics are simply out of reach for the majority of Hondurans, and as a result, this clinic is a principal healthcare resource for thousands in La Ceiba and the surrounding towns. This is a great option for people at the beginning of their training, as the staff here are very dedicated to teaching. Opportunities exist here to learn basic skills like taking vital signs, basic wound care, and assisting staff in recording basic patient intake information. We can find a placement for you in any stage of your training, let’s talk about it!
What does a doctor do? If you wish to share health education within the community, previous healthcare volunteers have provided an educational program for elementary age children called, “What Does A Doctor Do?”. Others have organized health fairs to provide free physical exams for adults and children. Please let us know if you would also be interested in providing this type of program.
Some ability in Spanish will help make the experience better all around but it is not a requirement. Many Honduran medical students and physicians will speak some English, however, the patients will almost entirely be Spanish speaking only. It is possible to arrange an inexpensive one-week Spanish immersion program or private tutoring. Both can be geared toward terminology needed for medical professionals. Please inquire about this if interested.
Live at the beach!
Healthcare Volunteers will live in the nearby beach town of El Porvenir. HCA has two comfortable and secure volunteer houses that are used for our educational enrichment and healthcare volunteers. It’s a great mix of people from all around the world! Healthcare volunteers will travel into La Ceiba each day via local bus or taxi. It’s an easy 20-minute trip and will be explained further as you prepare for your volunteer experience and during your orientation when you arrive. Transportation is convenient and safe.
Support and Orientation: In addition to a complete orientation by the HCA project managers in El Porvenir, for the first day at the hospital or clinic, volunteers will be met by our bilingual local liaison who has been working with healthcare volunteers in La Ceiba for many years. He will facilitate an introduction and orientation to the hospital that will help volunteers feel at home with their new surroundings!
If interested, please fill out a volunteer applicationand make a note that you are applying as a healthcare volunteer. we will then arrange a skype interview and will connect you with our healthcare prep & support volunteer who has also worked at the Hospital Atlantida while in medical school. She will answer any additional questions and help you to prepare.
If you have healthcare skills, this is great opportunity to truly make a difference and give a much-needed service. We look forward to welcoming you to work with us in El Porvenir and La Ceiba!