Is a Nursing internship opportunity in Sri Lanka right for me?
This project is open to anyone with an interest in the nursing field. It’s a great way to boost your CV and prepare for a future career in healthcare.
We work hard to tailor our internships towards your interests and requirements, so let us know if you’d like to specialise in a particular area. Otherwise you have the chance to rotate through many different departments for a broader learning experience. However, this is usually dependent on the length of your stay. The longer you are in Sri Lanka, the more departments you can spend time in.
You have your own supervisor for the duration of your placement. They will ensure that you have the chance to learn as much as possible during your time abroad.
While your hospital placement is purely observational, you’ll have the chance to do help provide basic medical care during our regular outreaches.
Please note that you need to be at least 18 years old to do this internship. The programme runs throughout the year, and you can join whenever you want for a minimum of four weeks. We encourage you to stay longer to gain even more nursing work experience in Sri Lanka.
What will I do on this project?
With a mixture of hospital-based observation work and practical outreach activities, this internship will give you a well-rounded experience. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Observe local doctors and nurses at work on their rounds
- Assist on community outreaches in disadvantaged areas
- Raise awareness about important health issues
- Learn about traditional Ayurvedic medicine
Your work will focus on the following areas:
Observe local doctors and nurses at work
By observing local doctors and nurses on their rounds, you’ll learn a great deal about healthcare practice in this developing country. We’ll teach you about the particular illnesses and conditions that occur in this region, as well as how they are diagnosed and treated.
There is also the opportunity to rotate through a range of different departments, or you can choose to specialise.
Assist on community outreaches in rural areas
We run regular medical outreaches at local community centres in disadvantaged areas. You’ll get involved in hands-on work here. This will take place under the supervision of a qualified local doctor. Your tasks include checking vital signs such as blood pressure and sugar levels. You will also help to dispense food and medication to the hundreds of people who attend.
Raise awareness about important health issues
You can also help out with educational campaigns in local schools. Here, you’ll work with other healthcare interns to give presentations and raise awareness about specific healthcare issues. These issues include diabetes, Dengue fever, the importance of good hygiene, and malnutrition.
Learn about traditional Ayurvedic medicine
All of our Nursing interns in Sri Lanka have the option to learn more about traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest medical systems. It involves herbal therapies, special diets, and acupuncture, among other treatments. If you want to learn, you can spend time in an Ayurvedic hospital. You’ll help prepare mixtures, care for patients, and take on other daily tasks.
What types of Nursing placements are available in Sri Lanka?
As a Nursing intern, you can choose to rotate through different departments or specialise in a particular area. Here are some of the options:
- General medicine
- Ear, nose and throat
If you are a nursing student in your elective year, you can also choose from the following specialties:
- Adult nursing
- Child nursing
- Mental health nursing
- Learning disabilities nursing
There is also the option to learn about traditional Ayurvedic medicine. If you are interested, please let us know when you apply. You will be based in a different hospital specifically dedicated to the practice. If you’d like to combine both modern and traditional medicine options, it is possible to do both. For example, you could spend two weeks at a standard hospital, and then two weeks at an Ayurvedic one. It’s a great way to gain invaluable nursing work experience in Sri Lanka.
Where in Sri Lanka will I be working?
Most of our Nursing interns are placed in hospitals in Colombo, Panadura, or Galle. These are all coastal towns, which is a definite plus if you love the beach.
It’s quite easy to travel around Sri Lanka, because they have a fairly extensive and affordable public transport network. You will live with a host family in the town where your internship is based.
Situated on the West coast of Sri Lanka, Colombo is the former capital and a popular tourist destination. It boasts a mix of modern amenities and shopping centres alongside colonial architecture, street markets and monuments. This bustling city has something for everyone, so make sure you take the time to explore and soak in the atmosphere.
You will work in one of our partner hospitals located in the southern part of the city. These are easily accessible by public transport.
Galle is a major city found on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka. Part of it actually forms part of a designated UNESCO heritage site. This is due to its blend of European and South Asian architecture dating back to colonial times, showcasing a wonderfully preserved fortified city. It’s a great place to explore on foot. Stop for lunch at one of the many cafes, visit a museum or two, and buy some souvenirs along the way.
You will gain nursing work experience in a Sri Lankan teaching hospital or in a local private hospital.
The town of Panadura is located 27 km from Colombo. You will either work at a hospital dedicated to women’s health or a busy district hospital.
A rather unusual feature of Panadura is that it is surrounded on all sides by water, namely the Indian ocean as well as the Bolgoda lake and river. Known for being the revival town of Buddhism, you should definitely make time to visit the temple Rankoth Viharaya, which is over 200 years old.
A typical day on the Nursing internship
After enjoying breakfast with your host family, you’ll travel to the hospital where you’ll be working, either by bus or rickshaw. On your first day, our staff will accompany you to show the way.
On this internship, you will work from Monday to Friday. Working hours will vary, but generally you will work from 8.30am - 12.30pm, with a two hour break for lunch. Your afternoon shift will run from 2pm - 4pm.
You will shadow local doctors and nurses on their rounds throughout your day. We also run medical workshops once a month. These workshops are a great way for you to to learn more about healthcare practices in Sri Lanka.They’re run by a local doctor, and focus on common medical issues in the area. This is another opportunity for you to ask questions and get clarification about things you’ve observed at the hospital.
Once a month, you will break away from your regular schedule to take part in a medical outreach. You’ll do practical health checks here.
Once your shift or outreach is over, you’ll have the chance to relax and explore. Go out for dinner with your fellow interns and talk about what you’ve done over a plate of curry. Admire the beautiful architecture, watch a cricket match at a local stadium, and wander through the bustling markets.
What are the aims and impact of this project?
The aim of this project is to provide interns with an educational work experience.
Many of our interns do not have previous medical experience, but are very eager to learn. Our goal is to facilitate the cross-cultural exchange of knowledge. You’ll observe skilled local nurses, while sharing your own experiences. It’s an excellent way to gain insight into healthcare practice in a developing country. You’ll also learn about prevalent diseases in the area, and how they’re diagnosed and treated.
This project also works to benefit the local community. Due to a lack of education or resources, many people die from preventable diseases resulting from poor hygiene practices. Changes in lifestyle and diet mean that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are on the rise. You’ll help change this by participating in outreaches and running educational campaigns to raise awareness.
We run regular community outreaches with all our healthcare interns. With your help, we aim to achieve the following in Sri Lanka:
- Promote awareness of non-communicable diseases
- Improve access to basic healthcare for disadvantaged groups
- Improve hygiene standards
- Reduce the number of cases of Dengue fever
Whether you’re doing health checks or sharing knowledge about preventing Dengue fever, your work is part of our efforts to help improve healthcare in Sri Lanka.
Medical electives for students
This project is also perfect for university medical and healthcare elective students. The real-world insight and knowledge you gain will help shape you as a future medical professional. You will also learn to work with different people and get a broader perspective of global healthcare systems and issues. This benefits your career for years to come. We can organise a placement that meets all of your university's requirements.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Leisure activities and free time
Sri Lanka is well-known for its diverse landscapes. From beaches to tropical jungles, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant country.
The buzzing Pettah Market is a must-see. You can chat to friendly vendors, buy handmade products, and enjoy the electric atmosphere around you. For cultural enrichment, you can spend an afternoon in the National Museum of Colombo. The Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple is also a highlight, with its vast collection of artefacts.
The town of Galle is a sea port with a strong Dutch heritage and plenty of old colonial buildings to explore. You can also venture inland to hike in the hills, swim in the cool waterfalls, and visit traditional hill towns.
Sri Lanka's national parks include safari parks where you can spot wildlife like leopards and elephants. Or spend an early morning bird-watching in one of the wetland sanctuaries. There are also rainforest reserves crammed full of tropical biodiversity.
You’ll be sharing this unique experience with many other volunteers. This means you can travel solo or spend your free time with the friends you make during your trip.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
Meet the team in Sri Lanka
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