There have been some recent criticisms of short term mission work. Criticisms have revolved around mission “voluntourism” relating to a lack of cultural understanding and performance of work for personal gain rather than true engagement in a community’s needs. I think healthcare is a great exception to this. We have specific skill sets, skills that are otherwise not present in third world countries, and we can directly impact these people by improving their quality of life immensely. The needs in the developing world can be overwhelming. It can feel impossible to make a dent in the problem. The focus, as always, needs to be on our individual patients and the life changing care we give. Although this is “short term” mission work, the impact on our patients is far from short term.
I would challenge everyone to remember why you became or are becoming a PA. Although needs at home certainly exist, consider expanding your practice globally. The need abounds. It will change you as a person and as a provider, you won’t regret it.