Working in a Hospital in Solomon Islands

Special information for nurses (m/f) and midwives

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17.06.2015

Before you apply:
Please read all general information first, then read the rest of this document!

General considerations:
For Solomon Islands the most important aspect of your stay will be sharing your knowledge and expertise with local personnel, but always keeping in mind that the approach of industrialized countries towards nursing and medicine is not the only possible one.

A few notes:

Do not expect much introduction to your work. A Swiss nurse who was doing volunteer service in the internal medicine ward at NRH in summer 2003, wrote:

I was cordially welcomed, but I was not given any information about the work in the ward, neither the daily schedule nor the rooms involved. I soon realized I was completely on my own.

There is no shortage of usually well trained and experienced nurses and midwives at the National Referral Hospital, so unless you have something of special interest to offer, you may find yourself with nothing to do. The nurse cited above wrote:

There was absolutely no lack of qualified personnel in the ward, we, the nurses, were often just sitting around with nothing to do. I tried to identify areas where I could perhaps teach my co-workers something new and useful, but I soon realized there was nothing I could teach them that on the one hand would not conflict with their cultural background or the way they see their work and on the other would be useful within the given constraints and the limited resources. They are simply doing an excellent job!

I was very disappointed I was not able to help them in any way.

The nurse decided to terminate her stay and leave Solomon Islands sooner than she initially intended to. She concludes:

In my opinion there is no point at all in working as a volunteer nurse at NRH because there is neither a lack of personnel nor a lack of working competence.

Nevertheless, I had an interesting time and do not regret having come here.

Remember, this was in internal medicine, teaching something useful may be a bit easier in more specialized fields, e.g. surgery, intensive care, and accidents and emergencies, but please tell the Nursing Superintendent what kind of knowledge you have to offer and make sure it is actually in demand.

Another Swiss volunteer added in summer 2004:

I think the primary reason to come here should be to learn from the people, their culture, their mentality and the current situation with its limited resources. The secondary goal should be to try to help the people.

If you are an experienced teacher or professional instructor with a very good knowledge of English and intend to stay longer than three months, working at a nursing or midwifery school may be another option.

Professional requirements:
Completed, officially recognized training

Ability and willingness to teach others and pass on your knowledge and expertise in your field, which means you should have professional experience as an instructor or teacher.

Minimum duration of stay:
Two months, preferably three

Remuneration:
None, i.e. you will have to pay for your travel costs, accommodation, food, etc. The government cannot afford to employ foreign nurses.

On 17 Dec 2013, the Medical Superintendent at NRH writes: Although we are short of nurses the government cannot even employ new local graduates.

Accommodation provided:
None, you have to organize your own (see General Information).

Working hours (at National Referral Hospital in Honiara):
Three shifts: 07:30 to 16:00, 16:00 to 23:00, 23:00 to 06:00

Where and how to apply:

Contact us, if you have general questions.

If you have decided you would like to do volunteer work at the National Referral Hospital in Honiara send your inquiry to the Nursing Superintendent.

For contact details see Contacting the hospital.

Notes:

  • Please include e-mail addresses of references (referees) if available, Solomon Islands cannot afford long distance calls.

Documents required for an application:

  1. Copies of your Certificates
  2. Transcript of your Training, CV
  3. Registration Certificate from your country
  4. Work permit, but if there is a possibility for you to work, this should not be a problem
  5. Standard Nursing Council application form for temporary registration in Solomon Islands (download 31KB pdf file)

Travel documents required:

Passport, visa, working permit, etc.

Links to more Travel Information

Recommended Literature:

  • a travel guide
  • a book about health care in developing countries
  • If your mother tongue is not English, a medical English book is a must. Whatever you get, make sure it also lists the many abbreviations used in medical English terminology! Readers whose mother tongue is German, find a highly recommended book here.
  • a Pidgin dictionary is recommended. But you can also purchase one locally.

Do you have specific questions? Previous visitors may be able to answer them. Contact us to get in touch.

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