Highlights

There is no end of activities and sights to visit in your spare time. Visit the north coast for some of the best windsurfing or kite boarding found in the world, go whale watching, try fun hiking, biking or even white water rafting for those adrenaline seekers! You may also like to visit the Caribbean's highest peak or the Playa Rincon, said to be one of the best beaches in the world. Hunt round the quaint town of Monte Cristo for some great finds including bargain priced jewellery made from handcrafted beads, and try some with some of the local rum in one of the colourful bars!

Overview

Gain invaluable hands-on experience, working side by side with medical staff and fellow volunteers at a hospital or a neighborhood health clinic. This opportunity will give you an insight into the running and daily routine of a hospital or a neighborhood health clinic. You will experience the stark contrast between Western medical practice and the realities of medicine in developing countries. As the hospitals and clinics are still modernizing, there are many challenges faced and as a result you will also see medical conditions that have remained untreated and have developed to an advanced pathological stage. Therefore this project not only provides you with responsibility, it also allows you to broaden your perspective by working at a hospital/health clinic in a developing country.

Furthermore, you can gain experience in a range of different departments and activities within the hospital/health clinic, such as: emergency, pediatric, maternity (only female volunteers), diabetes, integral attention & prevention for HIV, tuberculosis and uterine cancer as well as nursing, hospital administration and management assisting with accountancy and helping with statistics. There is also the possibility to work in the hospital pharmacy. You are welcome to also work on our other projects such as the English and computer literacy classes for locals.

This opportunity will give you an insight into the day to day running of a hospital or clinic. You will experience the stark contrast between western medical practice and the realities of medicine in developing countries. As the hospitals and clinics are still modernizing there are many challenges faced and there are realities not often seen in developed countries. Therefore, this project not only provides you with responsibility, it also allows you to broaden your perspective by working at a hospital/health clinic in a developing country where you will be faced with the stark realities of the disparities between medical practice in the developed and developing world. This means that, sadly, you will also see medical conditions that have remained untreated and have developed to an advanced pathological stage uncommon in developed countries. Furthermore, you can gain experience in a range of different departments and activities within the hospital, such as: Emergency, Pediatry, Maternity (only female volunteers), Diabetes and Integral Attention & Prevention for HIV, Tuberculosis and Uterine Cancer as well as Nursing, Hospital administration and management assisting with accountancy and helping with statistics. There is also the possibility to work in the pharmacy.

Your level of possible involvement will largely depend on your Spanish language skills and experiences in the field, as well as your motivation and willingness to get involved. It will also depend on the current needs and tasks at the hospital as we really want to help out wherever our help is needed most. Your work schedule will be created in a meeting with the departmental director and the volunteer coordinator and supervisor. In this process we always try to match your interests and skills with the current situation at the hospital. In order to gain the most out of your experience, and especially if you have a specific health care goal, please contact us in advance to discuss your options in detail. Please keep in mind that hospitalized patient care in the Dominican Republic is much less extensive compared to nursery practices in the western world! It is common to see that family members are expected to take care of their patient at the hospital.

What to expect
You can join this program throughout the whole year. Working hours will be primarily in the morning when the physicians are at the hospital/health clinic while in healthcare 24 hour rotations are implemented. As with any medical service, volunteers should recognize that their schedules may be subject to sudden changes and are dictated by patients’ needs.

Activities can include but are not limited to 

  • Observing, shadowing and assisting doctors and nurses during their work
  • Participating in patient care: comforting patients and assisting with examinations
  • Providing ambulance support when needed
  • Assisting, teaching and encouraging prevention, hygiene and checkups
  • Assisting in developing educational materials and engagement strategies for various prevention programs using multimedia
  • Helping regularly with hospital administration tasks and helping improve procedures and workflow
  • Some volunteers may also choose to teach English to the doctors, provided that there is a sufficient number of doctors interested
  • Foreign medical missions visit and work at the hospital several times a year. You may accompany them and translate for them and the patients
Ongoing throughout the whole year!

Financial Contribution & Benefits
Aldeas de Paz works hard to keep the required financial contribution to an absolute minimum and to offer financial transparency by practicing an open book policy. The calculation of your financial contribution or donation is set up so that the longer you stay, the less you give per week. We do this to encourage longer stays, recognizing that longer stays lead to more significant volunteer work and more energy contributed in the form of donated time in place of money! The minimum contribution starts at €140 per week and includes Spanish language classes, double room at one of our fully equipped guesthouse apartments, a special program donation as well as a personal welcome service and pick-up at the airport, transfer to the bus, bus fare and free transfer to your placement location in Las Terrenas or Samana. If you wish a single room upgrade add €50 per week and an all in Host Family homestay upgrade is €150 per week, including a private bedroom and two meals per day. For more information about costs and benefits check out our webpage   

What is included

    • Welcome Service at the airport and transport to your placement location
    • Volunteer or Internship placement
    • Accommodation of your choice
    • Placement introduction, training, supervision, briefings and meetings
    • Free regular Spanish lessons throughout your placement
    • Free Wifi and use of washing machine at all our facilities
    • Certificate, written reference and student credit
    • Information about adventure packages
    • Full support and 24/7 backup from local staff

Special Offer    
Spanish language classes: Volunteers and interns receive free language lessons every week. The classes focus on developing communication skills so that students are able to put their knowledge to practical use as soon as they step outside the classroom. Our teaching method enables students to develop four basic skills: listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. The idea is to learn Spanish in a natural and spontaneous way, just as students have learned their mother tongue. Our students are encouraged to speak Spanish right from the very first day, using it in typical real-life situations: the basic syllabus is supplemented by special exercises, such as role-play, situational dialogues and work projects. Outside the classroom, the learning process continues as you are immersed in the Spanish language and the Dominican culture.

Requirements
This program is suitable for pre-medical students and students of pharmaceutics as well as nursing students with free holiday time, pre-university students, students taking or planning to take specialist medical courses such as biomedical science, nursing and physiotherapy as well as professionals. The key requirements for a medical volunteer or intern are initiative, enthusiasm, and readiness to work in unfamiliar circumstances. If volunteers have more specialized skills, this will allow for more specialized activities. Basic conversational Spanish skills are required and the more advanced your level of experience and Spanish language skills, the larger the number of opportunities available. To allow a deeper engagement with your placement we offer free Spanish language lessons every week allowing for an enhanced experience as a volunteer/intern with us. Suggestions on what to bring: Please bring scrubs and easy to clean comfortable closed shoes to wear as they are mandatory

Volunteer Placement or Internship
You can join this program as a volunteer and are free to commit from between 20 to 40 hours per week. Thats up to you! As an intern however you probably have to fulfill requirements set by your school or university. Please inform us of your school or university’s internship requirements in advance so that we can work out your personalized work plan together. Also tell us about your personal expectations and goals and we will see how we can help you achieve them.

Please bring scrubs and closed shoes that are easy to clean for working in the hospital, as they are mandatory. Latex gloves, hand sanitizer and face masks (N95 for the TB patients) would be a very helpful donation to the dental clinic.


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