BEFORE I APPLY

1. Do you only work with the doctors?
2. What professions are needed in the field?
3. Do you collaborate with physicians of all specialties?
4. Do you collaborate with health care paramedics?
5. What are the requirements for cooperation?
6. Do you accept students and trainees for field work?
7. Is there an age limit to be able to work with MSF?
8. What nationalities can apply to the selection procedure?
9. Can I apply even if I have worked outside of my profession for a couple of years?
10. Does MSF organize courses for prospective candidates leaving for the field?
11. Is it an advantage to have experience staying abroad?
12. What languages should I know in order to leave to the field?
13. Must I take the course of Tropical Medicine before leaving for field work?

SELECTION PROCEDURE

1. How does the selection procedure take place?
2. How long is the selection process and how long before I want to leave for the field should I apply?

SELECTION OF PROJECT AND DEPARTURE

1. How is the project country chosen?
2. Must I give notice before I leave on a mission?
3. Can I choose the country where I want to go?
4. Can I refuse leaving for a certain country?
5. What countries are most likely?
6. Will I get some training before my departure?
7. What vaccinations do I need?

THE MISSION

1. What is the duration of the field work?
2. What are the living and working conditions?
3. Will I have access to the Internet / e-mail and phone?
4. Can I return from the field early?
5. How much does it cost me to do field work?
6. Is field work paid? Are some costs paid by MSF?
7. Will I have an employment contract?
8. Am I entitled to holiday?
9. Will I be insured? What if I get sick or hurt?
10. Is it possible to take my partner or family with me?
11. How does MSF ensure my safety?
12. What kind of support can I expect during and after my field work?

AFTER THE MISSION

1. What opportunities for career growth are there with MSF?

OTHER

1. Is it possible to work as a volunteer in the Czech office of MSF?
2. Does the MSF work experience count as a full part of specialized study / preparation for?

 

BEFORE I APPLY

1. Do you only work with the doctors?

No. MSF projects include a team of specialists from different areas. A large part of our volunteers have medical training (doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, psychiatrists), but also other experts are needed:

  • laboratory technicians
  • technicians, logisticians, engineers, specialists in water and sanitation
  • administrators, HR, financial coordinators. [Back to top]

2. What professions are needed in the field?

  • doctors - general practitioners, internists, pediatricians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, gynecologists / obstetricians
  • general nurses, pediatric and OT nurses
  • pharmacists
  • midwives
  • laboratory technicians
  • psychologists and psychiatrists
  • logisticians, engineers, civil engineers, specialists in water and sanitation, mechanics, electrical engineers
  • administrative workers, financial coordinators and recruiters [Back to top]

3. Do you collaborate with physicians of all specialties?

No, not all areas of specialization in provision of health care fit to work in the field. We work with general practitioners, internists, pediatricians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, gynecologists / obstetricians and psychiatrists. For example, we do not cooperate with dentists, ophthalmologists, dermatologists, radiologists, neurologists or veterinarians. [Back to top]

4. Do you collaborate with health care paramedics?

Only paramedics who have completed medical or nursing education can leave to the field, those who have at least two years' working experience and meet other requirements (see Conditions of cooperation). Rescue workers without this educational background are not authorized to work in countries where MSF is active, even in conditions of crisis assistance. Paramedics departing on missions not only know how to provide first aid, but are highly specialized in medical assistance, often in very complicated situations, using basic and unsophisticated means. In addition, they lead and train teams of local professionals. [Back to top]

5. What are the requirements for cooperation?

Required:

  • at least two years of professional experience in the field (medical specialists must have an attestation)
  • advanced knowledge of English
  • ability to work and be part of a multicultural and multidisciplinary team
  • organizational skills, the ability to correct prioritization
  • willingness to work in potentially turbulent regions
  • stress resistance
  • ability to leave for a duration of between a few weeks up to 1 year (see How long are placements in the field? for individual professions)
  • medical workers must have a valid registration with the relevant Chamber
  • identification with the MSF values and principles

Advantage:

  • advanced knowledge of French
  • experience with supervision, training and management of people
  • work or travel experience in developing countries or regions where MSF has been working
  • knowledge of Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian or any other language used in the areas of where MSF is active
  • previous experience in a similar job with a nonprofit organization
  • interest and / or experience with international humanitarian or international relations events [Back to top]

6. Do you accept students and trainees for field work?

MSF field offices do not accept students or trainees due to the lack of professional experience. Work experience is one of the basic requirements for collaboration. This is to ensure a sufficient level of expertise, a certain level of maturity and experience of a working environment that is necessary for a successful operation in the field along with good leadership of local staff. Due to legal requirements of medical professionals including medical disaster relief in regions where MSF is active, only medical professionals with appropriate training and diplomas are eligible for field work. [Back to top]

7. Is there an age limit to be able to work with MSF?

No. The ability to work for us is limited for younger people due to the requirements in education and work experience. There is no upper age limit. All volunteers must undergo a medical examination prior to departure, which enables them to participate in the field work. [Back to top]

8. What nationalities can apply to the selection procedure?

The Czech office of MSF is responsible for recruiting volunteers living in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The positions are open to all candidates who live in those states irrespective of nationality. [Back to top]

9. Can I apply even if I have worked outside of my profession for a couple of years?

The duration of interruption of work in the medical field should not exceed two years. Longer periods may be considered only with several years prior work experience. Each such case will be assessed individually. [Back to top]

10. Does MSF organize courses for prospective candidates leaving for the field?

No, we do not organize any preparatory courses before the selection procedure. The actual fulfillment of the conditions for cooperation (see Conditions of cooperation) is the relevant training. In addition, we offer information on our website and we host regular information evenings. We organize a Preparatory Course for candidates who successfully pass the selection procedure. Before leaving for the first time to the field we offer weekly courses that prepare you for the reality of theoretical field work, safety, handling stress, responsibilities of individual members of the mission, intercultural differences, etc. [Back to top]

11. Is it an advantage to have experience staying abroad?

Yes. It doesn’t have to directly be work related, but any longer stay abroad is an advantage, preferably in countries or regions where MSF usually provides assistance (Africa, Asia, South America). [Back to top]

12. What languages should I know in order to leave to the field?

English is the language of communication, so an advanced knowledge is necessary. At present the importance of French is increasing as a large part of our projects are located in Francophone countries in Africa. The recruitment process for positions of nurses, logisticians, administrators or personnel often exceeds six months because of the lack of French languages skills. Positions where French is not needed are often limited. The knowledge of other languages is an advantage, such as Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Arabic. [Back to top]

13. Must I take the course of Tropical Medicine before leaving for field work?

The course of Tropical Medicine must be completed by employees in the following professions: general practitioner, general nurse, midwife, laboratory technician. Participation in the course of Tropical Medicine, however, is not provided before signing the contract. MSF does not cover expenses for attending this course. More information about courses Tropical Medicine can be found here: www.astmh.org. [Back to top]

SELECTION PROCEDURE

1. How does the selection procedure take place?

The condition for the participation in the tender is your attendance at our information evening (dates and venues here) and the fulfillment of the conditions of cooperation (see the Conditions of cooperation). Once you send your application (available after the information evening) with the required documents and a positive evaluation of your technical and administrative expertise has been made, you will be invited to take a test about the knowledge in your field. All applicants are then invited to an interview and to an Assessment center, which takes place in Vienna to examine your personal requirements for field work. Successful candidates will eventually become part of the pool of employees who are offered places in the field. [Back to top]

2. How long is the selection process and how long before I want to leave for the field should I apply?

The length of the process varies and depends on several factors, including how quickly candidates can pass the test, participate in the Assessment Center and how quickly the candidate can leave the country, as well as the availability of a suitable position in one of the MSF projects. The entire process from sending your application to leaving could take anything between several weeks up to six months. [Back to top]

SELECTION OF PROJECT AND DEPARTURE

1. How is the project country chosen?

After successfully becoming part of the pool of MSF collaborators we will try to find an adequate position for you according to your time availability and professional capabilities. All associates are offered positions primarily based on project needs. Coworkers cannot select specific regions or countries where they want their field work to be. Participation in the project, however, is voluntary, and you decide if you do not want to go, you are free to reject the offered position. [Back to top]

2. Must I give notice before I leave on a mission?

Your release from employment depends on your agreement with your present employer. Once you are part of our pool of employees you do not become a permanent employee of MSF, but are employed only for the duration of each individual mission. Doctors and other staff from the University Hospital in Motol, Hospital Na Bulovce, General Faculty hospital Karlovo náměstí and Vinohrady Hospital can take advantage of the cooperation agreement that was concluded to facilitate travel with MSF missions (more on the hospital intranet). [Back to top]

3. Can I choose the country where I want to go?

MSF prioritizes flexible candidates when choosing its volunteers and those who are in accordance with the MSF’s Charter willing to leave to areas where their presence is most needed. Co-workers cannot choose the country of their field work, places are offered according to the needs of the crisis areas and professional expertise. [Back to top]

4. Can I refuse leaving for a certain country?

Yes, you can refuse any position offered to you for personal or other reasons. However, we do expect some flexibility and willingness to leave to most of the countries and regions where MSF is active. [Back to top]

5. What countries are most likely?

In 2011, most trips of Czechs and Slovaks were to Southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The requirements of the projects continuously change depending on the humanitarian situation. [Back to top]

6. Will I get some training before my departure?

Before leaving for your first field work you will be attending a weekly training that will prepare your theoretical skills for the needs of the mission, learn about safety, treatment of stress, responsibilities of the individual members of the mission, intercultural differences, etc. Before every trip you will receive information regarding the country and the project to which you will be travelling and you will attend a series of preparatory briefings. [Back to top]

7. What vaccinations do I need?

Vaccinations vary depending on the region of the field work. You will receive information about what vaccinations are needed during your pre-departure medical examination. [Back to top]

THE MISSION

1. What is the duration of the field work?

The duration of the field work can vary from between a few weeks to 6-12 months. The length of the field work depends on the type of work you will be doing. The duration is also dependent on the environment in which the project takes place (shorter missions in crisis situations, longer missions and long-term projects in relatively stable environments).

PROFESSION / LENGTH OF FIELD WORK (usually):

general practitioner (including pediatricians, internists) - 6-9 months
surgeon / trauma / orthopedic surgeon - 3 months / 4 weeks
anesthesiologist – approx. 4 weeks
gynecologist / obstetrician - about 3 months
psychiatrist / psychologist - 6-9
months pharmacist - 6-9
months nurse - 9 months
theater nurse - 4 weeks
midwife - 9 months
laboratory technician - 9 months
universal logistician - 6-9 months
logistician / administrator - 6-9 months
specialist in water and waste management - 6-9 months
supply specialist - 6-9 months
motor vehicle specialist - 1-3 months
civil engineer / architect - 2-6 months
administrator - 6-12 months
financial coordinator - 6-12 months
humanresources coordinator - 6-12 months [Back to top]

2. What are the living and working conditions?

The living and working conditions vary from country to country and from project to project. MSF in any case seeks to ensure conditions that encourage performance and do not exceed local living standards. You might have to do without running water or electricity and live in a very small space (cabin, Tukul). The means of communication could be limited; restrictions of freedom of movement outside your base might be enforced for safety reasons, etc. Poverty, something you will be confronted with every day, will be shocking. Often you will have to get used to living in an environment where the presence of the armed forces is part of everyday reality. During crisis conditions and possibly at the beginning of the project your living and working conditions might be reduced to the bare minimum. [Back to top]

3. Will I have access to the Internet / e-mail and phone?

Communication options vary from mission to mission. For example, internet access is almost always available in the main cities, but not always in remote locations. The same applies to the signal range of mobile phones. Communication via radio is always possible. [Back to top]

4. Can I return from the field early?

As a volunteer, it is always possible to leave the field work earlier than expected for personal or professional reasons. [Back to top]

5. How much does it cost me to do field work?

From the moment you are accepted to the pool of colleagues of MSF (after the Assessment Center), any expenditure related to your departure and stay is covered by MSF. No travel or accommodation costs are covered during the selection process (for the test or the Assessment Center in Vienna / Prague). [Back to top]

6. Is field work paid? Are some costs paid by MSF?

You will receive a salary which serves as compensation for your participation to cover costs and financial commitments that you leave behind at home (rent, loan repayments, etc.). The amount of this compensation is around 1045 euros per month. Each volunteer also receives a local per diem, which serves as pocket money to buy food and other personal needs. MSF pays the costs associated with your departure: travel costs, visas, vaccinations, accommodation, health insurance (including repatriation). [Back to top]

7. Will I have an employment contract?

Yes. Czech and Slovak volunteers are employed by one of our operational centers in Switzerland, France, Holland, Belgium or Spain. [Back to top]

8. Am I entitled to holiday?

Yes, during your field work you are entitled to a few days of vacation every three months. [Back to top]

9. Will I be insured? What if I get sick or hurt?

MSF provides a special travel insurance for all its employees. This package includes coverage of all medical care, repatriation, disability and death. The insurance is valid for the entire duration of the field work. In addition, there is always one physician in the field who is responsible for the health of the team. [Back to top]

10. Is it possible to take my partner or family with me?

It is not possible the first time you leave for field work. Even with a lot of field work experience, bringing your family with you can pose a lot of obstacles and barriers. These barriers may be safety related, the complexity of finding an occupation for your partner, limited accommodation capacity, lack of educational infrastructure for children. [Back to top]

11. How does MSF ensure my safety?

Safety risks during field work is an everyday part of the work of volunteers. They are often the result of bad quality of transport (road conditions, vehicle condition) or political instability. MSF ensures its vehicles are maintained regularly. All employees comply with local road rules. In terms of security in the areas of crisis intervention, MSF is protected by the principles of neutrality and impartiality, as well as thorough safety measures specifically formulated for each project. Safety measures often regulate free movement of employees between the base and the field or movement during free time. The security situation of each individual project is constantly under the control of the project coordinator, who also continuously adjusts these measures. In the vast majority of cases MSF staff are not protected by armed guards, but always employ a day or night watchman. [Back to top]

12. What kind of support can I expect during and after my field work?

MSF volunteers may find themselves in situations that have a strong psychological impact. For this reason, you can always consult a psychologist / psychotherapist during and after your field work. [Back to top]

AFTER THE MISSION

1. What opportunities for career growth are there with MSF?

There is room for growth within the organization. During their first field work experience volunteers usually work in lower organizational positions. After getting the necessary experience, the knowledge can be applied to coordinating the team, being based in the capital and managing all projects in the rural parts of the country. MSF also has a broad employment base in the operations center and other offices globally to which you can apply. [Back to top]

OTHER

1. Is it possible to work as a volunteer in the Czech office of MSF?

The Czech office of MSF uses the support of its volunteers for both help in the office, as well as organizing various public and educational events (exhibitions, etc.). Work in the office including regular assistance within various departments is often administrative related. If interested, send your CV to: hr@lekari-bez-hranic.cz. [Back to top]

2. Does the MSF work experience count as a full part of specialized study / preparation for attestation?

You can have all you achievements during your field work acknowledged by the Head of Mission or the coordinator responsible for the medical part of the project. Such testimonials translated into Czech language will be forwarded to the competent authority in the Czech and Slovak Republics. The decision counting practice for MSF in specialization depends solely on the authority. [Back to top]

News and stories from around the world