Unique Nurse Practitioner Job Opportunity- Is This Adventure for You?

My husband owns a business so our living situation is not so mobile these days.  We have put down roots in the great city of Nashville, TN for the time being.  Unfortunately, these roots exclude me from pursing my ultimate dream job…for now.  So, I will let you in on this amazing, unique nurse practitioner opportunity in case you are interested.

Combining my loves of medicine and international travel are a dream.  I had a taste of international medicine while volunteering in Kenya for two summers and am dying to return.  Fortunately, I have discovered a potential employment opportunity for my future that could mimic this experience.  There is a little known job opportunity for NP’s abroad working for the U.S. Department of State working as a Foreign Service Health Practitioner.

Where Can You Work as a Foreign Service Health Practitioner?

Foreign Service Health Practitioners work in countries across the globe- from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Beijing, China or Quito, Ecuador there are endless locations where this career will land you.  The U.S. Department of State warns that as a Foreign Practitioner you may work in small or remote countries, harsh climates and in environments where American-style amenities and the latest technological advances are often unavailable.  If you are like me, this is actually a job endorsement rather than deterrent and international service might just be the exciting opportunity you have been seeking.

What Will You Do as a Foreign Service Health Practitioner?

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It seems that as a Foreign Health Practitioner you will be a ‘jack-of-all-trades’.  Responsibilities of this position include providing primary health care services, managing preventative medicine programs such as ensuring safe drinking water, coordinating emergency medical response and evaluating local medical resources.

Am I Qualified to Become a Foreign Service Health Practitioner?

To become a Foreign Health Practitioner, you must be at least a master’s (MSN) prepared Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) or physician assistant with at least four years of clinical experience within the past six years.  Additional qualifications such as U.S. citizenship and the ability to receive top level security clearance are also required.

Sounds amazing, I know!  Hopefully in the (very) distant future I will be applying for one of these positions myself.  Working as a nurse practitioner internationally for the U.S. Department of State sounds like an excellent career opportunity for the NP with an adventurous spirit.


13 thoughts on “Unique Nurse Practitioner Job Opportunity- Is This Adventure for You?”

  1. Andrea Balsley

    I am interested in becoming a Foreign Health Nurse Practitioner. I currently have 8 years of experience.

  2. Based on the information on the Foreign Service Health Practitioner website, yes, they only accept Family Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants. 

  3. Hi Margie,

    Unfortunately, by law, candidates must be appointed to the Foreign Service prior to the month in which they turn 60. There are opportunities to work internationally through private companies. If you want to work abroad, I would contact a recruiter to see if they are aware of any opportunities that might fit your interests. 

  4. Hi Margie,

    do they have any intern position for new grads or less than 5 years of experience? I love to work internationally, do you have any info. please,

  5. Hi – My husband who is an FNP with over 8 years of experience is considering this career option. Currently, he works at the VA as an NP in Orthopedics. He’s had experience in family practice, emergency medicine, & orthopedics. My career is at a crossroads so this could be a good time for him to pursue this. We both love to travel &, even though, we know that there would be downsides, we are excited about the possibility of living abroad. Do you know how much family practice & emergency medicine experience is required? Since it sounds like you have a spouse to consider in this sort of career move, did you do any research about making this career transition with a spouse? Neither one of us is interested in him doing an unaccompanied tour. Do you know how likely it is that he will have to do one of these types of tours? Thanks, in advance, for your reply & your help!

  6. Hi Lea, 

    I believe four years of nurse practitioner experience is required to work as a Foreign Service Health Practitioner. I do not know how competitive employment is for this position, but imagine it depends heavily on the location.

    As far as relocating with a spouse, the likelihood of both individuals being employed likely depends on location as well. For example, countries where the U.S. has a larger presence may need more than one practitioner whereas countries where the U.S. has a smaller presence may not. 

    Sorry I can’t be more specific! I would recommend contacting the U.S. Department of State directly for further details. 

  7. hello, I am from Kenya and I an DNP prepared NP. I will love this job opportunity since I still have roots back in Kenya. I will be looking more into this job.

  8. I am a former DoS officer who worked with a number of FNPs in less developed countries, e.g., Burkina Faso. If you assigned to a glam post like Paris you will have lots of support. If there is a Peace Corps facility in your less developed country, there is probably a PC physician for support. If not, you are really, truly on your own. Of course, with internet and satellite comms you will be able to contact the Regional Medical Officer. But your experience has to be broad enough to take care of infants through adults, IZs, procedures, etc. it is a very rewarding life with lots of opportunity to do things your stateside friends could only dream of. BTW, your housing will likely be upscale, you may have commissary access or alternative tax- free import privileges, etc. At rhe time I served, your true compensation was about 50% greater than just salary if you were in a third world country given the various hardship allowances, etc. Go for it!

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