12/24/2014

Peace Corps: Medical Clearance

Peace Corps USA
It's been nearly a year and a half since I decided to join the Peace Corps. The application process has been one of the most grueling and stressful experiences of my life. It makes the bureaucratic hoops I had to jump through to study abroad at Tohoku University, in Japan, look like grand archways I simply strolled under.

As mentioned in previous posts, after hearing nothing for nearly six months, my nomination was changed from the South Pacific to the Sub-Saharan. I'll be working with the Rural Aquaculture Promotion as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia. I was and still am very excited about the assignment, but man, the paperwork, since...
Peace Corps Volunteer Invitation
This was just the beginning.
Once I accepted my formal invitation, the flood gates opened: passport, visa, updated resume, final transcripts, aspiration statement, press releases, a dozen digital documents/forms, two e-learning video classes, and the biggest doozy of them all, final medical clearance. I accepted my invitation on the 15th of September, and I completed all of my tasks before I flipped my calendar to October... with the sole exception of the latter. I was not medically cleared until this past Friday, the 19th of December.

The medical application process was a mind-numbing game of telephone between my physician, me, the Peace Corps Nurse, and the Peace Corps physician, in exactly that order. If the PC physician had a question, they didn't just call my doctor, even when invited to. They ask the nurse who in turn asked me, who in turn had to make another appointment to see my doctor. This is of course after waiting over a month for the PC physician to finally raise such a question.

Preferably, Peace Corps Invitees receive final medical clearance 60 days prior to their scheduled departure time. When I called, sort of worried that I was again, again waiting for a response from my PC physician, the lady on the other end reassured me that most of the other invitees in my class weren't medically cleared yet either. That was with 55 days to go!

Five days later, I finally got the all clear. I was like a kid on Christmas.
At the beginning of the new year, I should be getting flight information about staging and departure, currently scheduled for February 9th. Below are some useful charts from the Peace Corps Wiki on medical restrictions that can delay, limit, and/or inhibit your ability to serve, if you're looking to become a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Medical Delay Peace Corps Volunteer
Medical conditions that could limit your placement.
Medical Restrictions Peace Corps Volunteer
Medical conditions that could limit your placement.
Medical Unsupported Peace Corps Volunteer
Medical conditions that could not be supported.
Find out how to join the Peace Corps!


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