There is too much emphasis on gear in this game. Its unfortunate, but understandable. Gear is something you can see upfront whereas player skill can only be judged ex-post. That said, the gear requirements are quite low in this game. Everything upto EC and TFB SM can be done in recruit gear.
I have healed EV HM in full recruit (freshly dinged 50 alt) and KP HM with a couple of pieces for Rakata / Columi gear I got from the EV HM run. It was not even hard to heal too. A guildmate has tanked EC SM in recruit too, all through Kephess. We have even run TFB HM with a PUG healer in Columi / Rakata mixed (our guild is perennially healer short