Graves, Mary W. (MA Thesis) The Benefits of Short Term Volunteer Health Work in
Developing Nations as Reported by Health Care Professionals: a Content Analysis.
The author sifts through 41 articles, published between 1986-1996, written by health professionals about their medical STM experiences (15 about nurses, 6 dentists, 20 doctors) looking for key words to identify various categories of reaction to the STMs.
Finds that, among the categories “learning”, “personal value”, and “rewards”, all three professions mentioned “personal value” most frequently.
When these 3 types of benefit were considered in terms of whether the benefit was professional or personal, more articles noted “rewards” and “personal value” in terms of personal benefit, whereas “learning” was more often cited in the context of professional benefit.
“More than 80% of all articles addressed the personal value of the experience as being beneficial. None of the articles discussed how they improved the health status of a developing nation. They did address particular cases where people were cured of a particular disease or surgery was performed to correct a deformity and the joy that the patient expressed.” (pp. 41-42)