Medical Volunteers

Medical Volunteers

Operation Smile medical programs are almost entirely volunteer-based, so we rely on medical professionals who can take charge of their roles with confidence, conviction and world-class skill. These traits have made Operation Smile a global leader in performing safe cleft surgery in resource-limited environments for more than three decades. Guided by our Global Standards of Care, medical volunteers must be able to work as a team to balance the highest possible quality of care with the efficiency to serve as many patients as our time and resources will allow.

This demands stamina – physically, mentally and emotionally – as long hours and a fast pace are expected of our volunteers. Our work also requires travel to locations across the globe, which presents its own set of demands and challenges.

We are always growing our medical volunteer team and would welcome having you join us! Below are the medical specialties for which we are currently recruiting. Interested candidates must be actively working with pediatric patients in an acute-care facility. Should your current role be one where you are focused primarily on administration, please let us know and we can discuss other ways that you can volunteer with Operation Smile UAE.


To apply Volunteer Information Sheet

For more information please email [email protected]


Volunteer Specialties


  • Plastic Surgeons/ Cleft Surgeons/Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons
  • Anesthesiologists/Pediatric Anesthesiologists
  • Post-Anesthesia Care Unit Physician/Pediatric Intensivists
  • Pediatricians
  • Dentists
  • Orthodontists
  • Operating Room Nurses – PALS certification required
  • Recovery Room Nurses/Post Anesthesia Care Unit Nurses – PALS certification required
  • Ward Nurses/Pre-Post Nurses – PALS certification required
  • Nutritionists
  • Speech Pathologists
  • Child Life Specialists/Psychosocial Care Providers


  • Paper Medical Records
  • Electronic Medical Records
  • Patient Imagining Technicians/Medical Photographers
  • Photographers
  • Translators

Medical Volunteer Stories

Dr. Ghaith’s ‘Life Changing’ Mission in Ghana

In June, I embarked on a life-changing mission with Operation Smile to Koforidua, Ghana. This journey took me to a place where hope and transformation thrived, where lives were forever altered. Among the many incredible stories I encountered, there was one that touched my heart deeply, leaving an indelible mark on my soul. It is the story of a 25-year-old woman who had lived her entire life with a complete cleft lip, yet managed to find love, start a family, and finally, receive the gift of a transformed life.

The Arrival in Koforidua:

As our team arrived to Koforidua, the air was filled with anticipation and excitement. We were greeted warmly by the local community, who had longed for the arrival of Operation Smile’s medical volunteers. The mission aimed to provide life-changing surgeries to individuals born with cleft lips and palates, granting them the chance to smile with confidence and live without the burden of their condition.

Meeting the 25-Year-Old Woman:

Among the patients we encountered, one woman’s story stood out from the rest. She was a 25-year-old lady, who had lived her entire life with a complete cleft lip. Despite the challenges she faced, she had managed to build a life filled with love, hope, and resilience. She had gotten married and recently given birth to a beautiful baby girl.

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Nurse’s Story

Nurses stand as vital members of the Medical team during a mission, providing our patients with their expertise and empathy.

Throughout each mission day, our nurses work around the clock doing checks on each patient almost every 15 minutes, working pre and post operation, whilst simultaneously showing compassion and kindness.

A nurse’s job ranges from a variety of sections. It can involve making sure the patients have the correct medical records to helping the parents learn the correct post operative care. A mission site without nurses would be a mission site incomplete.

Meet four of our nurses who volunteered at the June 2021 mission in the UAE: Amal, Sharif, Fitz and Laura.

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Dr. Eeva’s Story

It was the last day of the July 2021 medical mission in the UAE. Some of the medical volunteers, students, and coordinators had gathered in the staff room after a tiring but rewarding day. Someone suggested playing a game of I-spy-with-my-little-eye. The most enthusiastic player was, of course, Dr. Eeva.

Dr. Eeva-Liisa, more popularly known as simply Dr. Eeva, joined Operation Smile UAE’s medical team in 2012. Since then, she has been contributing to the organisation with her arsenal of experience and her never-ending, lighthearted jokes.

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Voices From the Front Line: Q&A with Nurse Nabil Sadoq

“Working as a nurse during this pandemic is almost like going to war. I do it because if I don’t, nobody else will.”

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