Frequently Asked Questions

I'm interested in working with you: what do I need to do, and how does the selection process work? Why do you ask for a long period of availability for missions? Here you can find the answers to these and all the other questions you could have.

In healthcare work overseas EMERGENCY does not employ volunteers but specialist personnel with specific professional profiles.

I'm interested in working with you: what do I need to do, and how does the selection process work?
The first thing to do is to find out which personnel are required for EMERGENCY’s projects and check the specific requirements for each role. Having done this, you should complete the on-line application form and wait for the initial evaluation: this usually takes place within 4 weeks. If you pass the initial evaluation you will receive an in-depth Questionnaire to complete based on the outcome of which you may be invited to an interview day at EMERGENCY headquarters (Milan or Rome – Italy), followed by one or more briefing sessions before departing for your mission.
For personnel resident outside Italy specific arrangements will be agreed with candidates.
Why do you ask for a long period of availability for missions?
There are a number of reasons, all of which are important. The main reasons are so as to have an adequate settling-in period; to allow for a better knowledge and understanding of the guidelines and protocols in use, as well as the context in which you will work; to establish good working relationships and coordination among the various professionals present at the project, including the national staff colleagues.
I am available for a shorter period, or I don't have the required skills/qualifications: can I volunteer for a mission in some other role, even unpaid?
No, for the reasons explained above and also because of the organisational and security obligations of the project.
Are you only looking for medical and health care personnel?
No. On average each year around 18% of the positions are non-health care posts in various specialist fields. Logisticians, administrators for organisational and management tasks, but also technicians to carry out maintenance on the medical equipment, plant and systems in our hospitals.
Will I have to leave my current job to work with EMERGENCY?
No. In order to undertake a mission with EMERGENCY, staff usually request a period of unpaid leave from their employer. Italian staff only may require a particular type of leave to public employees, established by the Italian Development Cooperation Agency (Law No. 125/2014). After several missions, some professionals decide to work full time with EMERGENCY.
How much notice will I get before my mission?
Usually around 6-8 weeks. In each case missions are agreed with EMERGENCY on the basis of the organisational and clinical needs of the organisation and the availability of previously selected personnel. Staff periodically inform EMERGENCY of their availability to help make planning more efficient.
Are overseas staff paid?
Yes. EMERGENCY offers various types of contract to the international specialist personnel, which include: monthly salary based on salary scales standardised for each role; incentives for successive missions; travel expenses, board and lodgings; insurance cover; a period of leave to be taken at the end of the mission. See general requirements and conditions for more information.
Are the staff working on the health projects in Italy paid?
Yes, but only for certain roles. The paid staff work alongside over 150 volunteers (including health care workers) who contribute to the running of the projects for free.
What kind of accommodation and work patterns do personnel have on the projects?
EMERGENCY provides every type of logistical support during the mission, including lodgings in the accommodation reserved for international staff. As for the organisation of work, that depends on the specific position (role and project).
I am a resident physician: can I work with you?
Yes. EMERGENCY offers the chance to undertake a 6-month period of residency to medics in the process of specialisation in specific specialties in the areas of Medicine, Surgery and Clinical Services.
I'm still studying: can I work with you (even an unpaid internship)?
No, we cannot offer this opportunity in overseas Countries where we work. For internships in Italy, see the available positions.
My professional role is not currently required. Might it be required in the future?
Yes. The work of EMERGENCY continues to develop according to the needs we come across and the resources available. New projects and unscheduled interventions can require the addition of new roles to our search criteria, either temporarily or permanently.
Why is it necessary to speak English and/or French, and what level is required?
Because these are the working languages of our overseas projects, used for communication both among the international staff and with the national staff colleagues, and through them, the patients and the local community. The minimum level required is B1 (CEFR-EUROPASS); the selection process will include individual tests.
Do your specialists also work in local hospitals?
It’s not the usual way of working but it may chosen in emergency situations. The first EMERGENCY project took place in Rwanda in 1994 and involved sending a team of medics and surgeons who worked in local facilities. Since then, we have carried out vary types of interventions (medical/surgical care or rehabilitation) in Eritrea, Algeria, Palestine, Angola, Libya, Central African Republic… EMERGENCY constantly monitors areas affected by conflict, natural disaster and other health care crises, and may send a team to evaluate the situation
I have applied to work with you in the past, but was not successful. I have since had further training or professional experiences: can I re-apply?
Yes, but you must provide specific details regarding any such training/experience, and hence new skills acquired, on the on-line application form.
I have sent my application but have not received a reply: what does this mean?
EMERGENCY sends a confirmation of receipt within a few days of receiving an application. Within 4 weeks, the information contained in the application form is carefully evaluated: if the evaluation is positive the candidate receives a more detailed response and a request for further, more specific information. Apart from the confirmation of receipt, unsuccessful candidates or personnel applying for roles which are not required will not be contacted. It is always possible that there may be some delay in contacting successful applicants, especially in periods where a high number of applications have been received.
If I pass the selection process, can I choose the project or Country where I will work?
No. Missions are offered (destination and duration) on the basis of two criteria: the candidate’s profile (training, technical ability, aptitude) and the needs of the EMERGENCY projects. However, during the interview and successive briefings, you may indicate preferences which will be taken into account.
Can I bring my family or another person with me?
No, for organisational and safety reasons. Once you are on mission, EMERGENCY provides means to keep in regular contact with home.
Are the teams at EMERGENCY hospitals composed exclusively of Italian staff?
Absolutely not. The teams are international, and not just because of the presence of local staff. In fact, the number of non-Italian personnel from every continent is growing, especially from certain Countries (USA, UK, Belgium, Switzerland…) where EMERGENCY is known and has support groups or workers present.
I work in a hospital department but I can't undertake a mission. Is there some other way I can help you?
There are lots of ways! Especially by telling your colleagues about EMERGENCY and the possibility of working with us, perhaps by asking us for information or leaflets to hand out or display in the department. Head doctors and directors of departments in university hospitals can encourage expert or resident colleagues to apply. At the invitation of the organisers, EMERGENCY regularly takes part in conferences, clinical meetings, presentations in hospitals, workshops… with the aim of presenting the reasons for and results of our work.

For further information and enquiries (not for applications):

EMERGENCY uses Performa Hrm for the selection process and the international staff management.

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