Medicine Volunteer Projects in Cambodia
- Placement location: Phnom Penh
- Role: To gain valuable medical work experience in hospitals which provide treatment to some of Cambodia’s poorest citizens
- Type of placements: Hospitals and outreach work in day care centres
- Requirements: Volunteers must have completed at least three years of medical related studies
- Accommodation: Shared volunteer apartments
- Price: From
- What’s included? Food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport, transport to and from work where required, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
- What’s not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
- Length of placement: From 4 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
Volunteering with Projects Abroad on a Medicine placement offers an excellent way to gain medical work experience. It will also provide you the opportunity to help people in some of the poorest medical institutions in the developing world.
As a Medicine volunteer in Cambodia you will have the opportunity to gain a wide range of medical work experience in a variety of departments. These include General Medicine, Gynaecology/Maternity, Infectious Diseases, ENT, Obstetrics, Psychiatric ward, Neurology, Pneumology, Oncology, Urology, ICU, Ophthalmology, Stomatology, Emergency (requires at least 6 years medical training) and Surgery (requires at least 3 years medical training). We sometimes run medical outreach projects where free medical checkups are given to children.
Most Medicine volunteers in Cambodia work in Phnom Penh, in a large State Hospital. We also have placements in a Paediatric Hospital and in an International Private Clinic. The State hospital originally opened in 1960. It was forced to close for five years during the Pol Pot regime from 1975 to 1980 and sadly, during this time, many doctors and educated medical professionals were killed.
Since reopening the State Hospital has become the largest hospital in Cambodia's capital and admits over 17,000 patients each year. The hospital employs 140 doctors almost 200 nurses.
Your Role as a Medicine Volunteer in Cambodia
All Medicine volunteers in Cambodia must have completed at least one year of medical-related studies or training by the time they join this project. You will need at least three years training to work at the paediatric hospital or private clinic, three years training to work in any Surgery department, and six years training to work in ER. Each placement is then tailored to your level of experience and interests.
The hospital staff request that you spend a minimum of two weeks in each department. Your supervisor at the hospital, the Director General, will then assign you to work with the specialist doctors within the different departments. We will do our best to place you in your preferred departments, but we cannot guarantee all departments will be available all of the time.
Your role at the hospital will usually start by being observational and you will shadow the local staff. If you show enthusiasm and initiative and develop a good relationship with the medical staff, you may find that you gain enough trust to be given more to do. As with any job – and especially in the field of medicine - you must prove yourself to be trustworthy before you are given responsibilities.
Facilities within the hospital are basic and treatments are sometimes not of the standard we would expect in the West. You should be prepared to see some shocking cases and try not to get emotionally involved with the patients.
Normal working hours are from Monday to Friday from 8am to 12pm. Many of the doctors do not work in the afternoons, however, it is sometimes possible to arrange to return to the hospital from 2pm to 5pm to help the nurses or do extra work with the patients. Some volunteers have even arranged to work the occasional night shift.
Many of the doctors speak French rather than English, so if you speak some French this will come in useful. In some departments there are staff who speak a little English or from time to time there may also be local medical interns, who can also communicate in English.
While volunteering on your placement in Cambodia you will stay in one of the Projects Abroad apartments. You can spend your free time with our Projects Abroad volunteer community exploring what Phnom Penh and the surrounding areas have to offer.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Cambodia Medicine & Healthcare Management Plan.
This placement is fully researched, safety audited and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.