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Volunteer Tips Part Three: Integrity

This month, we have been highlighting essential traits for successful volunteers. We discussed how HVO volunteers succeed by keeping their minds open and adjusting to unforeseen circumstances, as well as the importance of patience and innovation when volunteering in resource-scarce countries.

In this third and final post in our essential volunteer traits series, we delve into the final essential volunteer trait – integrity.

Nurse and HVO Volunteer in UgandaIntegrity. Professional integrity means that you commit to providing the best guidance and care with the resources available. You share your knowledge, yet remain open to technologically appropriate solutions. You share your passion for health care and provide dependable service to your colleagues. You take initiative and willingly challenge yourself to meet the goals of your assignment. You act as an ambassador, mindful that your work and behavior reflect on more than just yourself. You respect differences in culture, but remain true to your personal values.

HVO is proud of our volunteers. We see time and again the integrity with which they serve, demonstrating respect for their colleagues and the circumstances in which they work. Here are some of our favorite volunteer quotes promoting integrity in international volunteer work:

I found that the HVO mantra of humility, compassion, patience, and flexibility, was essential in building a strong relationship with my hosts. I was not there to ‘lecture’ but rather to assess the situation from multiple points-of-view, respect their opinions, and move forward with a free and open exchange of ideas.”

-HVO Volunteer to China

Remember to be respectful, flexible, and open-minded. We have as much to learn as we have to teach. When you are frustrated that things don’t seem to be done in the manner you think correct, take a deep breath and try to understand the whole picture. Try to find out what your hosts need.”

-HVO Volunteer to Uganda

I met a large number of physicians from all specialties that I very much admire and respect for their hard work, knowledge, and dedication in less than ideal conditions.”

-HVO Volunteer to Peru

Go and give some time: they need you and your expertise. Be ready to learn too – you will see a lot of things you have never seen before. Do your best to realize that these are exceedingly talented people working in a broken health care system and always treat them with the utmost respect because what they are doing is exceptional.”

-HVO Volunteer to Africa

If you would like to learn more about effective volunteer, review HVO’s article on effective volunteering. To begin the volunteer placement process, complete our volunteer application.