Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants Join the Peace Corps

Written by on July 22, 2013 in Nurse Practitioners with 0 Comments
Nurse Practitioner Dorothy Cooper

Nurse Practitioner Dorothy Cooper

Many were on hand at the White House Thursday, July 18, to watch 30 American doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants join the Peace Corps. While many healthcare professionals have joined the ranks of the Peace Corps throughout the years, this batch being sworn in was extra special as the volunteers were the first group of the newly minted Peace Corps Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP).

According to its website, the program aims to “improve clinical education, expand the base of physician and nursing educators and build healthcare capacity in countries that face critical shortages of healthcare providers.”

The program is a partnership between the Peace Corps, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief, and nonprofit Seed Global Health. The volunteers will work not just to heal, but mainly to educate local healthcare workers in an effort to create a more sustainable healthcare system within each host country by educating local healthcare workers.

The first group of medical and nurse professionals — ranging age from 26 to 70 — are bound for a one-year commitment in Tanzania, Malawi and Uganda, beginning July 2013. Among the inaugural batch is Dorothy Cooper a Washington state Nurse Practitioner who has been in the field for 35 years. She is proof of the benefit to come when Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants join the Peace Corps.

Cooper, 61, told the Herald Net it was her first time doing this type of work and that in “the evening of [her] career” she wanted to be able to give back to nursing in some way. She specializes in women’s health and has taught nursing in the past.

“Medical teams have gone to these areas in the past to work in clinics. Now, they are going as educators,” Cooper told the Herald Net. “I’m not coming in with my grand ideas. I’ll be partnering with nurse educators there.”

To read more about Cooper and the new partnership’s efforts click here.

Have you ever volunteered you healthcare skills? Tell us about your experience (or your future plans to volunteer) in the comments.

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