Become a Medical Volunteer

Join our 6,000 dedicated medical volunteers who are helping change the lives of thousands of children, their families and communities around the world.

Who We Are

Operation Smile has provided hundreds of thousands of safe surgeries for those born with cleft lip and cleft palate. With more than three decades of expertise, Operation Smile creates solutions that deliver free surgery to people where it’s needed most. As one of the largest medical volunteer-based non-profits, Operation Smile has mobilised thousands of medical volunteers from a wide range of medical specialties from more than 80 countries. Through our comprehensive Medical Global Standards, we provide our patients with results that are consistent with the world’s finest hospitals and create a model of excellence that elevates surgical standards in the countries we serve.

Currently, 81% of our medical volunteer positions are filled by health care professionals from the countries in which we work. The other 19% are made up of medical volunteers from around the world who are passionate about giving back and making a difference in the lives of others.

Our Volunteer Experience

As an Operation Smile Australia medical volunteer you will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend surgical missions across Asia and Africa where we are active
  • Work alongside and skill share with likeminded medical professionals from across the globe
  • Make a real difference in the lives of our patients, their families and communities
  • Make connections that will last a lifetime!

Overview of Our Missions and Mission Placement

  • Missions are typically 10-12 days long: Screening day(s), patient announcement day, surgery days and a volunteer appreciation event at the end of the mission.
  • There is a $500 team fee required for each mission attended.
  • Operation Smile will cover the cost of return flights, visas, on the ground transport, accommodation and breakfast and lunch.
  • Operation Smile Australia manages the placement of volunteers from Australia and New Zealand.
  • Mission placements usually take place 2-3 months prior to the mission, sometimes less.
  • We work in resource-limited countries where there isn’t always access to running water, reliable electricity and internet and all of the tools and resources you might be used to at home.

What Our Volunteers Have to Say

Medical Volunteer Positions

Operation Smile Australia is currently accepting applications for the following specialities listed below:

In order to be eligible as a plastic surgery volunteer with Operation Smile, you must fulfill the following criteria:
  • Registered in a relevant specialty that included cleft lip and cleft palate surgical
  • Training and achieved highest level of certification available.
  • Demonstrated current cleft experience and current professional training.
  • Demonstrated clinical competence.
Application documents needed:
  • Completed Plastic Surgeon application online, including three references.
  • Copy of resume/curriculum vitae detailing current experience.
  • Copies of diplomas and degrees.
  • Documentation of Plastic Surgery specialty training.
  • Copy of current license/registration in field.
  • Copy of Board certification (as applicable by country)
In order to be eligible as an anaesthesia volunteer with Operation Smile, you must fulfill the following criteria:
  • Currently licensed and in good standing.
  • Graduate of specialty training in anaesthesia and achieved highest level of certification available.
  • Certified in Paediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) or equivalent course.
  • Certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) or equivalent course is recommended
  • Currently caring for paediatric patients.
Application documents needed:
  • Completed Anaesthesia application online, including three references.
  • Copy of resume/curriculum vitae detailing current experience.
  • Copies of diploma and degrees.
  • Documentation of Anaesthesia specialty training.
  • Copy of current license/registration in field.
  • Copy of Board Certification (as applicable by country).
  • Current copy of PALS certification (required).
  • Current copy of ACLS certification (recommended).

In order to be eligible as a paediatrician volunteer with Operation Smile, you must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Currently licensed and in good standing.
  • Graduate of specialty training in paediatrics and achieved highest level of certification available.
  • Demonstrated clinical competence.
  • Certified in Paediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) or equivalent course.
  • Currently caring for paediatric patients. Application documents needed:
  • Completed Paediatrics application online, including three references.
  • Copy of resume/curriculum vitae detailing current experience.
  • Copies of diploma and degrees.
  • Documentation of Paediatrics specialty training.
  • Copy of current license/registration in field.
  • Copy of Board certification (as applicable by country).
  • Current copy of PALS certification.
In order to be eligible as a Post Anaesthesia Care Unit Physician volunteer with Operation Smile, you must fulfill the following criteria:
  • Registered in Specialty and practiced within the past 2 years – achieved highest level of certification.
  • A physician trained and experienced in paediatric perioperative care, pain management, the recognition of post-operative complications and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • May have background or experience in the following areas:
    • Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
    • ICU setting that regularly cares for infants and children
    • Paediatric Anaesthesiologist
  • Certified in Paediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) or equivalent course.
Application documents needed:
  • Completed Post Anaesthesia Care Unit Physician application online, including three references.
  • Copy of resume/curriculum vitae detailing current experience.
  • Copies of diploma and degrees.
  • Documentation of Paediatrics specialty training.
  • Copy of current license/registration in field.
  • Copy of Board certification (as applicable by country).
  • Current copy of PALS certification.

In order to be eligible as a speech language pathologist volunteer with Operation Smile, you must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Hold a degree and licensure in Speech Language Pathology or its equivalent certification within a country.
  • Clinically competent in cleft lip and cleft palate and other craniofacial syndromes.
  • Current experience with cleft patients for the last three (3) years.
  • Ability to educate counterparts.

Application documents needed:

  • Completed Speech Language Pathology application online, including three references.
  • Copy of resume/curriculum vitae detailing current experience.
  • Copies of diplomas and degrees.
  • Copy of current license/registration in field (as applicable by country).

Basic Qualifications:

  • Registered Nurse and currently practicing
  • Certified in Basic Life Support (BLS) or equivalent course.
  • Certified in Paediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) or equivalent course.
  • At least two (2) years of current experience in specialty applying.
  • Clinical experience in acute care setting.
    • Note: practice areas such as administration, clinics, obstetrics and academic positions do not meet these criteria

Specialty requirements:

  • Pre/Post-Op Nurses: At least two years of current experience on a paediatric hospital unit or ward or an Emergency Room that provides care to children.
  • Operating Room (OR) Nurses: At least two years of current experience in perioperative nursing in a hospital or surgical centre. Ability to function in a circulating role.
  • Recovery Room/Post Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU) Nurses: At least two years of current experience in a PACU (experience with paediatric population required) or Paediatric ICU/Neonatal ICU setting.

Application documents needed:

  • Completed Nursing application online, including three references.
  • Copy of resume/curriculum vitae detailing current experience in specialty applying for.
  • Copies of diplomas and degrees.
  • Copy of current license/registration in field (Minimum RN).
  • Copy of current BLS certification.
  • Copy of current PALS certification.