Nurses – volunteer in Nepal -how to use your skills!

Updated May 6th, 2015

I got around to checking which blog pages were getting hits, and saw that this one was suddenly popular…… gee, did the 7.9 earthquake of April 25th, 2015 have anything to do with the number of people doing research on how to come here and help?

Yes, pilgrim.

CCNEPal is a project that taught critical care skills to nurses and doctors in Nepal since 2011. In Kathmandu Valley, 800 people had taken this training, and an additional 1,000 or so in the rest of Nepal. Amidst the tragedy there is solemn pride that CCNEPal positioned so many Nepali professionals with this training. CCNEPal didn’t do anything the day of the quake. We did everything for three years prior to the quake, and the dedicated Nepali professionals put it into use.

CCNEPal has always taken pride in the Road Trips. The Road Trips are sometimes grueling but always fun. CCNEPal was on a Road Trip when the earthquake shook loose.

The original plan to leave May 30th is still in place. In the meantime, I have written many blog entries about volunteering. The immediate relief phase, looking for victims in the rubble, is over. The recovery phase, in which services are restored and “normalcy” returns, is still in progress. Nobody in Nepal will be the same, ever.  The return to life will take years.

So – if you wish to volunteer, there is actually no hurry. No reason to jump on a plane unless you have specialized skills. This allows you to study, plan and prepare. Nepal is not an “easy country” for most western medical volunteers to go to, not for their first time. Read the below.

And, a shout out to NurseTeachReach. They were here and they did a great job. I have personally met with and collaborated with Lucy Rowe and she represents the best in the new generation of western global health nurses.

The pre-earthquake version that was on the site as of April 5th, 2015

As I write this I am preparing a trip to the Terai for five or six weeks, going from place to place and not returning to Kathmandu Valley in between. I expect to conduct twelve sessions of my course, for hundreds of nurses and doctors, in various cities. When I return I will get on the plane. I will take the summer to work on my daughter’s house, then in fall I will return to University teaching in USA. I will not be back in Nepal until May 2016 at the earliest.

I formerly titled this “volunteer in Nepal for 2015” but let’s face it: my specific project is built around the idea that Nepali nurses can teach themselves with a little nudge, and I just don’t have a need for other people to join me.  And it’s too late for CCNEPal anyway.

There ought to be a way to use your skills.

Somehow, there ought to be an easier way for highly-skilled acute care nurses to volunteer their skills here in a meaningful way. I hear about nurses who came here to learn about health care in a Low Income Country, and who mainly used their time to hand out toothbrushes in villages while on a trek. On the one hand, it’s okay, because they are still learning the way that people live and hopefully having a positive experience that whets their curiosity. On the other hand, the acute care system of Nepal is undergoing tremendous change right now and expertise is needed.


If you are interested in doing what I do, working in acute care hospitals, and not paying some huge fee to a travel agency that will send you trekking-with-toothbrushes, there is a group you should check out: Nurse-Teach-Reach. They are based in Sydney, Australia. They make a number of trip here each year. This group brings nurses to work in ICU, ER, and oncology nursing. The leader, Lucy Rowe, is a nurse.

If you think this might be you, contact them.

24 Responses to Nurses – volunteer in Nepal -how to use your skills!

  1. ashmeeta katwal says:

    Can the nurses of Nepal also can apply for this volunteering??

  2. ganga says:

    how i can apply for dis volunteer nurse??

  3. sarmila subedi says:

    when does the program starts?I am a nepali citizen and I have recently completed B.Sc nursing from MIRANDA COLLEGE OF NURSING, what shall i do for the further process?

  4. Pokhara RN says:

    I see you are working in critical care area in Nepal but have you thought about raising awareness in preventive care and infection control? Nepal still have diseases like Typhoid and dysentery. One of my biggest concern is basic things like needle safety and need standard precaution while taking care of patients. How do you go by contacting local nursing schools or hospitals when doing classes? Do you partner with different NGOs?

    • I agree with you as to the importance of those things. Many others are working on those. I have particular expertise in the specific area I teach – few others teach it in Nepal.

      I have a Nepal RN license which legally allows me to teach, according To N.N.C. I schedule the courses using a variety of approaches. If somebody will host me, I goo there. Very simple.

  5. i recently pass pcl nursing,can i apply there n if yes wats the process are

  6. sandhya says:

    i finished my bsc nursing from bangalore..what should i do to apply for this job?

  7. binita dhakal says:

    i want to do volunteers work for caring patient which are inneeded of health.I am able to do work as a care provider please .

  8. Luke says:

    I grew up in Nepal as a missionary kid and I am currently in medical school. This summer I was able to go back after the earthquake and help out a little. I want to write something for my school Student medical journal. I am trying to find anything about the current situation of the people affected from the earthquake from a health perspective. For example how the monsoon was for the homeless and any health problems arising from it, or what threats the upcoming winter poses for them.

    • Please feel free to browse this blog. To be perfectly honest, the communal violence situation in the Terai has consumed everyone’s attention and the earthquake victims are not getting a lot of press. Go to FaceBook and put your query there. The people at UMN Tansen are likely to help you… best wishes and best of luck!

  9. says:

    i recently completed PCL nursing from UMN tansen . i have been willing to have various experience with other nurses too. i would like to travel to various places and practice my practice my nursing skills in various areas . can you guide me ???

    • best wishes for your career. I do not use this blog to dispense specific advice to individual nurses or nursing students. ask your friends, family, mentors, and other persons you respect, for advice of that nature. Best wishes!

  10. Amrita Shrestha says:

    im interested to join CCNEPal 2015

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