A survey of BAUS members has highlighted the benfits of undertaking work overseas:
- renewed energy and motivation;
- a more open-minded attitude;
- a better understanding of different cultures;
- a greater desire to train and teach others;
- better operative skills;
- a more innovative approach to service delivery;
- greater confidence in clinical decision-making;
- increased awareness of the limitations of NHS practice; and
- enhanced communication and leadership skills.
It has been shown that overseas volunteering has measurable benfits to the NHS by enhancing individual's professional development. The benefits of working abroad are, however, far more than just professional. Experiences outside the UK help to foster durable relationships with the centres visited, and these relationships may last for the remainder of a professional career.
Working abroad has the potential to renew your enthusiasm for medicine, and may be an experience that gives insight into medical and social care that is not part of routine UK-based practice. It goes without saying that a period abroad enables you to travel and maximise any opportunities offered in the locality during what leisure time you may have.
You may find the following articles helpful in understanding the benefits of volunteering abroad to NHS workers.
Zamora, B., Gurupira, M., Rodes Sanchez, M. et al. The value of international volunteers experience to the NHS. Global Health 2019; 15: 31. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-019-0473-y
Yeomans D, Le G, Pandit H, et al. Is overseas volunteering beneficial to the NHS? The analysis of volunteers’ responses to a feedback questionnaire following experiences in low-income and middle- income countries. BMJ Open 2017; 7: e017517. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2017-017517
All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health. Improving Health at Home and Abroad: How overseas volunteering from the NHS benefits the UK and the world. 2013 'Improving Health at Home and Abroad - Full Report