Be the change you want to see in the world. ~ Ghandi

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mission Impossible?

Since you read our blog, or are a fan of our Facebook page, twitter, or pinterest, you either have been on a mission or are interested in going on one. Well this post will specifically address those who haven’t been on a mission…yet. J

This is the picture I want to have in my head when I think about going on my first mission.  J

So, how do you start the process? I wrote a while back about the process of becoming a Red Cross Volunteer and hopefully gave good instructions on how that works, but what if you want to volunteer with an organization that isn’t as big as the Red Cross?

Several of the organizations we highlight weekly are not the bigger humanitarian organizations such as Doctors without Borders and the Red Cross. It’s difficult to find an organization if you do not know what you are looking for. Luckily we have made it a little bit easier for you.

With those thoughts in mind, I started to think about what my plans are going to be for this next year. Do I want to go and participate in helping internationally like all of the scholarship applicants I read about? I have a lot to think about- I have two young kids under the age of 3. I wonder how will my husband handle it? Will I be ok traveling by myself without my family and without seeing my husband and kids every night?

So, using what we created on our web page (here) I started to look at “Global Health Nursing”. I’m not totally sure what it means, but I think I have a faint idea and I know FOR sure I can’t handle pediatrics at this point in my life…and with that in mind, pediatrics excludes, disaster response, peds, and possibly women’s health. After deciding what kind of nursing I was interested in the next question on the list wanted to know how far I was willing to go. I selected international. Why? Because I thought, well I do volunteer locally, and I really want to experience health care in Central America or South America (I think Africa is too far for me at this point in my life).

The question “are you interested in an experience that is faith based” is next on the list of questions. For me it doesn’t matter and I would like to have every opportunity present itself first and then choose. The final question is in regards to the length of the trip, I choose short less than 4 weeks and optimally less than 2 weeks would be awesome – (because I think I would truly miss my family WAY too much to go longer).

Up popped about 10-15 different organizations for me to choose from. Excellent! But then I was suddenly overwhelmed. Yikes. What do I do with this information? How do I know which organization is a good fit, or that has had good first mission experiences, would I have help when I was there, what if I didn’t know what to do? The list of questions started to form in my head, and it kept going. I had to start somewhere, so I started to scan each organization by their name. What was interesting was that I recognized a lot of organizations from the scholarship applicants I read with One Nurse At A Time. For me that was refreshing, but I can imagine, for someone who doesn’t have that opportunity, it would be overwhelming to get this giant list and not know what really to do with it.

Since some sounded familiar I picked the first one that my eyes found, Christian Medical Mission Aww…more familiar faces… J What a relief. I click on the details button read the short bio on ONAAT. I recognized that the short bio’s were SOOOO helpful. When I checked out others, I could recognize right away, that I wouldn't be a fit because I could not determine from their organizations name if they were peds specialized or they were stationed in areas that were farther away than Central America.  

After determining I wanted to check out Christian Medical Missions, I simply clicked on the link provided. EASY!  Their website is super easy to navigate! Searching through their next trips, I found one which may work for me, it’s in May of next year. I clicked on the trip details and up pops the needs of mission. Here are the details: Villages surrounding Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, May 11-19th, 2013. What I can’t tell is if they have filled all of their positions for RN’s. It appears that they have one RN that has filled the pharmacy/RN position – so I will email them specifically to ask if the RN positions are filled. For more info about this trip click here.

Wow – before I started I thought it would have been more difficult- but as it turns out WE have a great website that will help you FIND the organizations you want to work with. Yeah!

As a side note, even though we have cancelled Jo’s Mission for this fall, we are definitely looking at opportunities to start it up again this spring. PLEASE STAY tuned!