Get an In-Depth Look at Samaritan’s Purse and the Medical Volunteer Opportunities They Provide Around the World
Medical mission trips are a unique and practical way for healthcare professionals and students to volunteer their time and talent to provide healthcare to the world’s most impoverished places. Medical missions are a great way to gain valuable, hands-on healthcare experience and open your eyes to how medicine is practiced all over the world.
The organizations that arrange medical mission trips can be large, multi-national operations, while others can be smaller efforts organized by local charities and organizations. Samaritan’s Purse is a large organization that partners with affiliated volunteer organizations to operate mission hospitals that provide much-needed medical and dental care to the world’s poor, sick, and suffering.
(Click here to see our full list of the best medical mission trips and volunteer opportunities)
What is Samaritan’s Purse?
Founded in 1970, Samaritan’s Purse is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that stands ready to provide aid in the forms of food, water, medicine, shelter, and supplies to people in need in locations all around the world. One of the signature efforts of Samaritan’s Purse is their operation of mission hospitals located in the world’s most impoverished and underserved communities.
In addition to international medical mission trips that provide staffing for mission hospitals, Samaritan’s Purse provides all manner of humanitarian aid, including:
- Crisis and disaster response
- Food Programs
- Mobile emergency field hospitals
- Women’s programs
- Water, sanitation, and hygiene programs
- and more
Samaritan’s Purse Mission Statement
Samaritan’s Purse is a non-denominational Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to victims of war, natural disasters, disease, famine, poverty, and persecution in more than 100 countries, with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His son, Jesus Christ.
Where Does Samaritan’s Purse Serve?
Samaritan’s Purse is an international charity that seeks to provide medical care in remote, underserved regions in Africa, Asia, Oceana, Latin America, and the Middle East. Their list of medical mission trips is very extensive, with far too many missions than can be listed here. A shortlist of upcoming volunteer opportunities to serve in mission hospitals includes the following locations:
- Lebama, Gabon
- Egbe, Nigeria
- Egbe, Niger
- Curahuasi, Peru
- Balfate, Honduras
- Galmi, Niger
- Darwin Zimbabwe
- Nkhoma, Malawi
- Malumghat, Bangladesh
What Kinds of Medical Professionals Does Samaritan’s Purse Need?
Samaritan’s Purse offers medical mission opportunities with specific areas of focus that range from family medicine and physical rehabilitation to oncology and neurosurgery (with a great deal in-between). Within those particular areas of focus, the medical professionals in great demand include:
- Registered Nurses
- Nurse Practitioners
- Nurse Anesthetists
- Physical Therapists
- Student Nurses (on a case-by-case basis)
Registered nurses are required to have at least one year of clinical experience to qualify for a mission trip with Samaritan’s Purse. Student nurses who volunteer will, if accepted, serve alongside a physician or registered nurse, but will not have assigned medical responsibilities.
Samaritan’s Purse Volunteer Requirements
Depending on the assignment and visa regulations, nursing volunteers are required to serve a minimum of two weeks (plus travel time) to just under one year. All nurse applicants must have at least one year of clinical experience to be accepted for assignment.
The hospitals staffed by Samaritan’s Purse volunteers are located in many remote corners of the world where language can be a barrier to full understanding. When available, Samaritan’s Purse will have interpreters on hand to help bridge the communications gap between English and the native tongue. In certain countries, translators may not be practical or available. In those circumstances, Samaritan’s Purse will require volunteers to be fluent in the local language, often French or Spanish.
Vaccinations are the responsibility of the volunteer to acquire. Depending on the country of service, certain immunizations are required or strongly recommended. Samaritan’s Purse encourages you to refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to find the list of required immunizations for the country or region you plan to visit.
All volunteers are also subjected to an approval process that includes professional vetting and criminal background checks.
What Benefits Does Samaritan’s Purse Provide?
Samaritan’s Purse will assist you in many of the necessary arrangements, including:
- Airline tickets
- In-country transportation
- Medical licenses
The majority of mission stations have their own living quarters for volunteers and any accompanying family. The living quarters are quite nice when compared to typical living arrangements in the area. Accommodations vary depending on the location you choose to serve. In all cases, your living quarters will have electricity, running water and kitchenettes. Wi-Fi is also available in the majority of all living quarters. Lodging costs are usually covered in full by Samaritan’s Purse, but occasionally, a modest daily fee may need to be paid by the volunteer.
You purchase food at local markets, but you’re also allowed to bring shelf-stable foods from home. Samaritan’s Purse will provide detailed information about local food sources and handling upon your mission assignment. Most hospitals and clinics have meals available for you when you’re on duty. When off duty, you can either prepare your own meals or visit nearby restaurants when available.
Scrubs are made available to volunteers, but you are welcome to bring your own if you desire.
What Expenses Am I Required To Cover?
There are a number of expenses that are the volunteer’s responsibility to cover for the duration of your mission trip. These expenses include:
- Passport fees
- Travel expenses
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses
Samaritan’s Purse estimates that round-trip airfare and one month of living expenses range anywhere from about $1,500 to $3,500 per person. Upon acceptance, you will be assigned to a specific medical mission trip and provided with a budget worksheet that details the approximate costs for your trip.
How to Get Started
Like all medical mission trips, the application process with Samaritan’s Purse is a multi-step process that takes a bit of time to complete. The first step begins with visiting their website to familiarize yourself with the organization’s overall mission and discovering the available opportunities on their World Medical Mission page.
Once on the World Medical Mission page, choose your specialty (for example: Registered Nurses or Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation). Samaritan’s Purse will present you with a list of hospitals and locations in need of your chosen specialty. From there, you can click to find more detailed information and apply.
The application begins by creating an account and providing basic information. All applicants will undergo a criminal background check, a check for any malpractice determinations, and a character check with your provided references.
Click here to learn more about Samaritan’s Purse.
Start Your Career in Healthcare by Earning Your Degree or Diploma
Advancing your healthcare career is a great way to earn a more competitive salary*, but the rewards go far beyond the money and increased responsibility. By becoming a medical assistant, registered nurse, or earning a BSN degree, you’ll play a key role in restoring health to the patients you serve. If this sounds like the kind of challenge you’re looking for, then the perfect place for you to begin your journey could be at Provo College or its sister school, Eagle Gate College.
The Medical Assistant Program at Eagle Gate College can be completed in as little as 9 months and provides the necessary training for entry-level positions as a medical assistant in a healthcare facility such as a clinic, physician’s office, or urgent care facility.
Or, if you’re ready to take the next step towards becoming a registered nurse, you can start by enrolling in our BSN program. If you already hold an ADN, then you can earn your BSN degree online in as few as 20 months through the Eagle Gate RN-to-BSN program.
Finally, if you’re interested in helping injured or disabled people restore their strength and mobility, we encourage you to explore our Physical Therapist Assistant program.