Perceptions of Training and Support Received by Short-Term Volunteers: A Qualitative Study
Lenart, Kelly Elaine
MetadataShow full item record
Background: Global health short-term volunteerism is growing worldwide and has received both praise and criticism. If non-career international volunteers are improperly trained prior to departure, harm may ensue to both themselves and their recipients. Purpose: This study explores perceptions of short-term international volunteers about best training and support practices to prevent unintentional harm to participants and recipients. Methods: A semi-structured, one-on-one interview gathered insight from six volunteers on training they received while participating in the Nursing Assessment Program. All interviews took place between December 2014 and January 2015, were audio-recorded, and transcribed to hard-copy. Analysis: A thematic analysis guided by grounded theory was then conducted. Five major categories were created. Within those categories, 15 themes emerged and were subsequently validated through inter-rater reliability until saturation was reached. Results: Social support emerged as a significant finding in the reduction of reported anxiety and stress while job performance improved. Conclusion: Providing only comprehensive training to short-term international volunteers may not be sufficient for adequately preparing volunteers to serve in foreign environments. Social support experienced by volunteers emerged as integral, especially for short-term projects as reported in this study. Further research is needed to fully understand the dynamics of effective training and support for all divergent short-term international volunteers.
- Health services