While doctors are serving as missionaries around the world, they aren’t the only medical professionals in the field. Over the last several years, healthcare professionals like nurses have found a place and purpose in fulfilling the Great Commission, either on short-term assignments or as career missionaries. As a result, nurse mission trips have grown in both popularity and in opportunity.
If you’re a practicing nurse, training to be a nurse, or just thinking about being a nurse, a mission trip for nurses could provide a wealth of professional experience, spiritual growth, and personal fulfillment.
In other words, a nurse mission trip might be exactly what you need. If you want to get involved with other nurses looking to serve on a mission, explore the Global Health Missions Conference.
Healthcare needs around the world are growing exponentially. That means the need for nurses and other medical professionals is growing as well, especially in underdeveloped and underserved areas. The potential of nurse mission trips to provide extra sets of hands can be a huge blessing to overwhelmed medical missionaries and local doctors on the field. And you’ll get the extra benefit of meeting new people and experiencing new cultures.
But before you pack your bags, it’s important to examine yourself. Character traits like spiritual maturity, flexibility, teamwork, and humility are vital to being an effective missionary nurse—even on short-term experiences. In addition, you need to do some research to make sure you’re working with an agency that can make the mission trip work well for you, the professionals on site, and the patients you’ll treat.
Many organizations rely on a set of seven standards of excellence for mission trips. This code of best practices can help you evaluate agencies, but it can also help you look into your own motivations. After all, the important thing is not so much that you go, but that you go for the right reasons and represent Christ well while you’re gone.
If you’re wondering where to start with a nursing mission trip, you have plenty of options. In the list below, we’ve identified five organizations that can help you prepare for and participate in mission trips for nurses. Whatever part of the world pulls at your heart and whatever demographic you’ve been called to reach, you’ll likely find a fit on this list.
If you’re a nursing student (or a high schooler working through the college search process), there’s a good chance your school provides international opportunities for nurses. That’s especially true if you’re attending a Christian college or university. Many faith-based nursing schools combine medical education with an intentional missions focus, and nurse mission trips are part of the formula. For example, schools like Anderson University, Azusa Pacific University, Baylor’s Herrington School of Nursing, and California Baptist University each encourage (and, in some cases, require) a mission trip or semester overseas for their nursing students.
The mission of Nursing Beyond Borders is to provide healthcare and education for children in some of the most desperate situations in the world. Their nursing mission trips include both team and individual experiences and allow nurses to work with professionals on site in a network clinics, orphanages, schools, and shelters. Their focus is on both healthcare and preventative education that empower kids and communities.
As an affiliate of Christian Medical and Dental Associates (CMDA), the Coalition of Christian Nurse Practitioners offers a variety of services and benefits for the nursing community. They make nurse mission trips available through CMDA’s Global Health Outreach program. So, as a member, you could make a difference for God in a variety of locations around the globe.
For more than 15 years, International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) has been connecting individuals with mission trip opportunities, including mission trips for nurses and other medical professionals. Some trips are geared toward high school or gap year students. Others cater to nursing students and professionals. So, regardless of your experience or skill level, you can find a nurse mission trip that meets your needs through IVHQ.
As a ministry of InterVarsity, Nurses Christian Fellowship (NCF) is a professional organization and support network for Christ followers in the field of nursing. The group’s goal is to encourage nurses as they care for the whole person—body and soul. While NCF does not sponsor overseas travel, it does encourage mission trips for nurses. To that end, the group’s resources include some great articles and preparation materials for those going on nursing mission trips.
In many nursing programs, graduating students take part in a tradition called “blessing of the hands.” The symbolism, especially for Christian nurses, serves as a reminder that they are called to minister to the needs of everyone in every situation. As believers, we call that being the hands and feet of Jesus.
In a theological sense, every Christian’s hands are blessed to share the gospel with those in need. But nurses have a unique opportunity to fulfill that commission as they minister to people at some of the lowest moments of life. Nurse mission trips are one way you can extend your personal ministry while also enhancing your personal relationship with Jesus.
By taking part in a nursing mission trip, you can be Jesus’s hands and feet to people who desperately need to experience His presence. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime that makes a difference for eternity.
Medical Missions serves to connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.