Is a Medicine internship in Kenya right for me?
Are you a student considering a career in the medical field? Or perhaps you’re a medical student looking for practical experience? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then this is the internship for you.
You’ll learn directly from experienced local doctors and nurses, and you’ll have a supervising doctor to shadow. You’ll gain a valuable insight into the healthcare challenges people face everyday in Kenya. This will add a lot of value to your CV, and give you interesting points to talk about in interviews and essays. The outreach work will also help demonstrate your commitment to healthcare and helping those in need.
There are no requirements to join. All you need is a strong interest in medicine and a willingness to learn. There are a number of different placement options you can choose from, so that you can pursue your area of interest. Depending on how long you stay, you may also be able to rotate through many different hospital departments.
Our medical internship in Kenya is available year-round, from a minimum of two weeks. Our start and end dates are entirely flexible, so you can choose a time which suits you. We encourage you to stay longer, so you can learn more and get involved in multiple outreaches.
What will I do on this Medical internship?
This internship consists of a mixture of observational and practical activities, which makes for a fantastic learning experience. You can get involved in:
- Shadow experienced doctors and nurses on their rounds
- Assist with a range of different medical tasks
- Take part in medical outreach sessions which benefit disadvantaged communities
- Learn new skills at educational workshops from medical staff
Your work will focus on the following areas:
Shadow experienced doctors and nurses on their rounds
Your main role on this internship is to learn by observing local doctors and nurses at work and shadowing them on their rounds. You’ll encounter a range of conditions and diseases that you wouldn’t usually see back home, and we’ll teach you how to diagnose and treat them. We encourage you to take notes and ask questions to get the most out of your internship. This is a great way to gain medical work experience during your internship in Kenya.
Assist with a range of different medical tasks
Depending on your level of experience, you may have the opportunity to assist with more practical tasks. These include writing charts, taking blood pressure, and giving oral vaccinations. You could help with wound dressing and stitching as well. Previous interns have had the chance to work on diagnoses, treatment, and counselling for patients with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malnutrition.
These activities are supervised. You will only be permitted to do them if you have the training and have proven your capability to the local staff.
Take part in medical outreach sessions which benefit disadvantaged communities
Projects Abroad organises regular medical outreaches at community centres or schools in local villages or rural areas. These outreaches serve people in disadvantaged communities who would otherwise not receive regular medical care.
Under the supervision of qualified medical staff, you’ll help to carry out medical checks and provide basic treatment to members of the local community. These checks may include taking vital signs such as blood pressure or blood sugar levels. You will also dress wounds, administer oral vaccinations, and administer HIV tests.
Learn new skills at educational workshops from medical staff
You will also have the chance to broaden your knowledge and learn new skills at our medical workshops, which are usually run by our Medical Coordinator. Here you’ll have the chance to ask questions and share experiences with fellow interns. You’ll also learn new techniques which you can then put into practice during outreaches or at your placement.
What type of placements are available?
If you choose to work in the teaching hospital, there are a number of departments you can rotate through:
- General medicine
- Palliative care
You can also choose to work at a government health centre, a maternity and children’s hospital, or a palliative care centre instead. Palliative care centres are institutions which provide specialised care for people with terminal illnesses.
Where in Kenya will I work?
You will be based in the town of Nanyuki, which is around 200km north of the capital Nairobi. While the town is small, it has all the modern amenities you might need. These include convenience stores, restaurants, and banks. Nanyuki is also surrounded by a number of animal sanctuaries, which you can visit during your time off.
There are a number of different placement options for this internship. You can choose to work at a:
- Government-owned health centre
- Palliative care centre
- Maternity and children’s hospital
- Teaching hospital
These all work with people from disadvantaged areas, with a range of different medical conditions.
While Kenya is famous for its national parks, there are also plenty of other attractions not to be missed. The country has an amazingly diverse landscape, from deserts to tropical forests, mountains, and beaches. Check out the National Museum, discover ancient Swahili ruins, and purchase some unique souvenirs from the local markets.
A typical day on the Standard Medicine Project
Once you’ve enjoyed breakfast with your host family, it’s time to head to work. You’ll travel to your placement via a minibus, which will pick you up and drop you off at your host family each day.
A typical day on this internship runs from 8am - 4pm, Monday to Friday. Your exact working hours will be worked out between you and your supervisor on a weekly basis. There is also the option to work night shifts, upon agreement with your supervisor and our Medical Coordinator.
Your exact daily activities will vary according to the placement you choose, as well as your level of experience. Medical students and graduates will be able to take part in more practical work.
In general, you will spend time observing the local medical staff on their rounds. It’s a great way to see what a day in the life of a doctor looks like, especially in a limited-resource setting. If they are not too busy, doctors will often take the time to explain procedures or cases with you.
You may also find yourself assisting where needed on tasks such as taking blood pressure or giving oral vaccinations. On days where there are medical outreaches you will also be given more hands-on work. This may involve taking vital signs or dressing wounds.
At the end of the working day, it’s time to immerse yourself in local life. You can spend time getting to know your host family over a delicious Kenyan-style barbecue, or join in on our regular social events. These are a great way to make friends with your fellow interns and Projects Abroad staff!
What are the aims and impact of this project?
There are two main aims to this project: to provide you with an educational internship, and to provide basic healthcare services in disadvantaged communities.
Many of the interns who join us are looking for practical work experience to supplement their studies and CV. On this internship, you will learn from doctors and nurses and gain new skills. We encourage a cross-cultural exchange of knowledge, where interns and staff can share experiences with one another.
There is also an altruistic dimension to this internship. Many Kenyans do not have access to healthcare services, due to financial constraints or a lack of services in the area. Projects Abroad organise regular medical outreaches in the local community. These provide disadvantaged people with basic medical treatment that they would otherwise not receive. This treatment can include wound dressing, HIV testing, deworming, and more.
We have identified several key goals for our medical work in Kenya:
- Promote the exchange of medical knowledge
- Improve the quality of healthcare provided to patients
- Improve access to basic healthcare for disadvantaged groups
- Improve hygiene standards
- Reduce the number of cases of malaria
In 2016, we treated more than 3,700 patients thanks to the help of people like you. Join us on a Medicine Internship in Kenya and broaden your medical expertise while making a positive impact in a disadvantaged community.
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
Volunteering in Kenya is the perfect opportunity to explore this extraordinary country. With such a vast array of different activities, you’re sure to find plenty of ways to fill your evenings and weekends.
A trip to East Africa wouldn’t be complete without a safari. You can see wildlife like elephants, lions, and even the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, as you explore the savannahs.
Our projects are based in Nanyuki, which is known as the gateway to Mount Kenya. With this majestic mountain on your doorstep, it’s worth taking a day to hike around the base.
You can spend evenings at buzzing restaurants, listening to live music and trying some of the local dishes. Kenya also has must-see markets, with bright textiles and hand carved sculptures.
You can spend your free time exploring independently or travel with a group. With so many volunteers joining us throughout the year, you’re sure to make some new friends and travel buddies 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 Kenya
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