Clinical medicine volunteers will work alongside Peruvian medical staff in local hospitals and clinics, where they will have the chance not only to gain practical experience but also to learn first-hand about a healthcare system that is vastly different from its counterpart in the US. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to work directly with the community during the medical campaigns by assisting local doctors in providing medical care to those in need as well as through health education campaigns addressing important public health issues such as hygiene and nutrition.
Volunteers in Trujillo, Otuzco and Pacasmayo are placed in local clinics and hospitals in groups of one to five, where they work under the supervision of medical staff. The activities in which volunteers are able to support clinic staff vary greatly depending on the needs of the community as well as the medical staff. Daily volunteer activities may include visiting patients in the community who need check-ups, giving vaccinations at a local school, teaching children about the importance of proper dental hygiene, observing doctor-patient interaction, discussing the differences between the American and Peruvian healthcare systems with medical staff, assisting doctors with physical exams or learning to suture with medical students.
To supplement their clinical experience, volunteers will participate in an intensive medical skills and medical Spanish course in which they will learn how to take patient histories, record vital signs, diagnose common illnesses, practice dialogues in Spanish and perform basic physical exams. This course will enrich volunteers' experience in the clinics as well as prepare them to work with patients during medical campaigns, where they will work with Vive Peru staff to provide basic medical care and medication to children and families in the poorest sectors of Trujillo and Otuzco.
Spanish proficiency is not required by Vive Peru, but it is strongly recommended. Many volunteers find that any level of Spanish comprehension will enhance interactions with patients and medical staff.
The following is a sample weekly itinerary for Clinical Medicine Volunteers. Individual volunteer experiences will differ depending on each volunteer's clinical placement and the priorities of the clinics and hospitals throughout the year.