How My Medical Mission Trip Got Me Into the NP Mindset

By MidelvelU Contributor and Upcoming NP Student Shabnam Sabur

Recently I have been working on my “Before I Turn 30” bucketlist. In February, I was given the opportunity to check off one of the items-volunteering for a medical mission trip. I, along with about 130 other medical professionals and other helpers, traveled to Honduras with the International Health Service of Minnesota (don’t let the name fool you, the organization accepts volunteers from across the country).

When we arrived in Honduras, we split into small groups, each group providing medical care in a local village for the following ten days. I worked in the village of Rus Rus. All together, my small group saw close to 1,200 patients during our time there. Patients even made the days long walk across the border from Nicaragua just be be treated.

Due to the sheer volume of patients, my fellow nurse volunteer and I were given the opportunity to see patients as providers with physician oversight. Along with examining patients, we wrote prescriptions (Tylenol, vitamins, and antibiotics were pretty much the extent of what we carried) for medications from our makeshift pharmacy. The doctor we worked with was an excellent mentor and encouraged us to be as hands-on as possible. With his supervision, I was able to perform a few procedures including removing a lipoma, a cyst, and a ganglion using local anesthetic. 

Not only was my trip a great learning opportunity giving me insight into what it will be like to be a nurse practitioner, it also taught me how to be resourceful when there is little to work with. I had several offers from my fellow medical professionals to write letters of recommendation for my NP school applications not to mention my experiences gave me a unique perspective in NP program interviews

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Aside from the medical portion of the my time in Honduras, I also found time to have some fun. I flew a plane, went snorkeling, ziplining, had a massage in the jungle, and vacationed on the island of Roatan. A medical mission trip could be your opportunity of a lifetime!

Have you volunteered as a medical provider? ThriveAP would love to hear about your experience! Email


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