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Doctors Without Borders: Organization Description, Aims, and Application Process

Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) is one of the most prominent organizations doing global work. The organization, as evident by its name, specializes in providing medical and healthcare services around the world, particularly in regions where the health system is severely lacking or underqualified, or there is a sharp need for healthcare, such as zones of conflict or areas hit by natural disasters. They offer a range of services ranging from family medicine and psychiatric care to surgery and public health (vaccinations) (“Types of Projects”). The organization seeks to function as independent and self-governing from any political influence and is committed to accountability and transparency in its operations.

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One of the key positions highly demanded is a nurse practitioner (registered nurse). As a highly flexible and relatively autonomous medical professional, a registered nurse may be responsible for anything from helping to organize mass vaccinations for a population or triaging an influx of refugees. Through Doctors Without Borders, nurses will be participating in the direct care of patients as well as helping in public health initiatives or managing various elements in a hospital setting, such as hygiene, drug stocks, or data collection. Nurses working abroad are also encouraged to work with local staff to educate and guide treatment in order to ensure the sustainability of care once the organization withdraws from a region. It is a very rich but demanding experience that will greatly enhance leadership and management skills in a context not found in developed countries. Doctors Without Borders places relatively strict requirements for registered nurses seeking to apply. This includes a commitment to work abroad with 9-12 month assignments, three years of professional experience, some experience with management or supervising, and training/experience in certain areas or specializations. The nurses are also encouraged to speak fluently in Arabic or French as these are commonly spoken in areas where the organization operates (“Registered Nurses/Nurse Practitioners”).

The application process is described on the website clearly. First, the individual submits an application online. The application is detailed, requiring to outline of all levels of healthcare education, experience, and positions. Doctors Without Borders continuously highlights that this is a highly demanding job, requiring one to work for long periods in unstable and high-stress situations and environments, and will be placing significant responsibility, even upon such basic positions as a registered nurse. After HR screens the applications, those that are qualified are invited to an interview, either over the phone or in-person, or both. Afterward, an extensive criminal and background check is conducted, while potential candidates attend so-called Information Days, which are mandatory training for preliminary staff. If the application process is passed, the candidates are placed into the active pool of field staff, where they either await assignment or attend further training programs, which may take several months before an assignment is proposed (“How to Apply”).

I believe that as a person that is specializing in health sciences and nursing, the position of a field registered nurse with Doctors Without Borders will be a tremendous opportunity for me in the future. Of course, it is a position for which one has to take years to prepare and gain the appropriate qualifications and the necessary experience. However, these requirements exist for a reason due to the responsibility and demands of working on these global field assignments, particularly in environments where the organization is usually needed and present. In the end, even several assignments with Doctors Without Borders will provides such a rich leadership experience and make one a very strong and confident medical professional. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to do truly meaningful work, helping vulnerable populations and providing sustainable healthcare for struggling regions.

Works Cited

“How to Apply.” Doctors Without Borders, 2021, Web.

“Registered Nurses/Nurse Practitioners.” Doctors Without Borders, 2021, Web.

“Types of Projects.” Doctors Without Borders, 2021, Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2023, January 12). Doctors Without Borders: Organization Description, Aims, and Application Process. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/doctors-without-borders-organization-description-aims-and-application-process/

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StudyCorgi. (2023) 'Doctors Without Borders: Organization Description, Aims, and Application Process'. 12 January.

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