Medical Students

Medical Students/Recent Graduates

We welcome medical students and recent graduates on a limited basis.

Those who apply have to complete several additional steps to our medical volunteer application process. Prior to applying, it is recommended that you read the FAQ.

Medical education is different around the world. Your experience level will be an important factor in determining whether you should submit a medical volunteer or student application.

Medical students who have had at least one full clinical year of experience may apply as a medical student (usually the final year of school – ex: the fourth year of medical school in the United States.)

Individuals who have worked independently may apply as a medical volunteer rather than as a student (most US residents can qualify as a full clinician).

If you do not feel comfortable making independent assessments and working as a physician with sole responsibility, you should fill out the medical student/recent graduate application. A supervisor will be scheduled as back up when you are working.

Student volunteers will be integrated into the team, working in different areas of the hospital and receiving first-hand experience diagnosing and treating patients (under the supervision of the chief of medicine or doctor on call).

They will also be expected to fill a specific function during their time at the hospital and will work in both patient and non-patient departments. Student volunteers will be required to make a 30-minute case presentation in Spanish – on a subject relevant to health care in Santiago Atitlán – to Hospitalito permanent and volunteer staff at the conclusion of their rotations. A copy of the presentation must also be uploaded into the Hospitalito computer system.

If you plan on doing additional travel while in Guatemala, please plan your trips before or after your scheduled volunteer time.

Students must:

Commit to a minimum of one full month volunteering at the Hospitalito. Preference will be given to applicants who are able to work more than one month.

Be proficient in advanced level Spanish.

Pay a $50 application fee online.

If accepted, pay an additional $250 clinical supervision fee for a month-long stay. There is an additional $100 per month fee for those who volunteer for a longer period.

Supervisory fees are refundable up to 60 days prior to the volunteer’s scheduled arrival.

If you are interested in volunteering, fill out the application in English or Spanish.

English Application
Aplicación Español

These required documents must be reviewed by the Medical Volunteer Coordinator two months prior to the volunteer’s arrival and inclusion in the work schedule. (Reminder: Please send the application and following files to Febe Sosof on the same day.) If all the documents are not received, the application cannot be processed.

  • A letter addressed to Hospitalito Executive Director, Lic Jacinto Garcia Chipir requesting permission to volunteer and dates desired.
  • A letter of recommendation from the Dean of your Medical School.
  • Passport (all pages including BLANKS)

Students/recent graduates cannot work in the hospital unless they have been formally accepted and had their work dates confirmed in writing by our volunteer coordinator.

Once you have been accepted as a volunteer, the medical volunteer coordinator will send a copy of the email we hope you will share with the people you know who might help to make your experience in Santiago Atitlán as rewarding as possible.

If You Are Accepted.

If you are accepted, you will need to return your signed confirmation letter to our volunteer coordinator Febe Sosof and determine your service dates.

In addition to working in the hospital, you may be doing community outreach and traveling to rural areas – Cerro de Oro and Chacaya – where the need is great. You will be part of a team of doctors and nurses that speak the Maya language. The group will take lab tests, medical supplies and medicine.

Student Supervision

All student volunteers must be directly supervised for their protection and that of our patients. Students must present each patient to a clinician, reviewing his/her findings with the supervisor. All orders, prescriptions and charts must be co-signed by a clinician before prescriptions are filled, labs are performed or patients leave the hospital.

Clinician supervisors can include a licensed Guatemalan medical doctor or a licensed medical doctor from another country. For uncomplicated, non-surgical deliveries, a professional nurse midwife may be the supervisor.

Evaluations/Language Requirements

If your program requires that Hospitalito supervising clinicians evaluate you, the forms must be made available to our staff in Spanish. Any communications between a student medical program director and Hospitalito Executive Director Jacinto Garcia must be in Spanish.

Although we often have clinicians who are fluent in English, it is not always guaranteed. It is the responsibility of the student volunteer and his/her program to provide the translation.

Students without Clinical Experience

Students without clinical experience should apply as nonmedical volunteers.

They will not:

Receive clinical experience or teaching.
Shadow physicians or observe care.
General volunteers are only accepted if they agree to perform a specific function during their stay – training local staff, creating educational videos, helping with inventory, etc. – which they commit to completing.

Before such students are accepted, their function must be specified. In addition, they must be proficient in Spanish.