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Nursing In King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, Riyadh - An Irish Nurses Perspective

Testimonial - Siobhan Henderson - Nursing in King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, Riyadh

What is your Name & Job Title? My name is Siobhan Henderson. I am currently working as a recruitment consultant for CCM. I was previously in Saudi Arabia for almost 3 years where I worked as an ICU nurse.

Can you give us a snapshot of your nursing/allied healthcare career thus far? After completing my training I began on a neuro-medical ward in Beaumont Hospital, where I stayed for 2 years. I then began a Post Grad Diploma in Neuroscience Nursing and moved to Neuro ICU from there. After 2 years in Neuro ICU I moved to King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre Saudi Arabia on a 6 month locum contract. After completing my 6 months I returned to Ireland for 6 months and moved back out to Saudi where I completed a further 2 years in King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre.

Which country are you working in through CCM? Saudi Arabia

Why did you choose this country as your destination? The main reasons I chose Saudi Arabia were for saving and travel opportunities, both of which I did.

When you first arrived, what supports did the hospital have in place to help you adjust? The hospital were very supportive from the beginning. We were met at the airport and transported to our accommodation. There was a meet and greet organised for the following morning where we were introduced to some of the people who would be helping us with our orientation. The GHO and GNO over the coming weeks was very well organised and there was always somebody there if you needed any support with anything.

What kind of facilities do you have in your accommodation and local area? The onsite facilities in the hospital grounds are excellent. There is a pool in each complex, and also a gym. There are tennis and basketball courts, a shop, laundrette, salon, numerous cafes, restaurants and banks on the hospital grounds too. You're never stuck for anything!

How do you spend your days/evenings/weekends off? I immediately joined the GAA football club when I moved over. We trained twice a week with them and had tournaments every so often, both inside and outside the country. I also joined a social hockey group where we played street hockey on Saturdays in the DQ. They also did frisbee on a Wednesday! Other than that there was always something social happening, whether it be a gathering in a compound or an event in the embassy, you were never short of something to do. The malls are also great for some entertainment/retail therapy!

What is nursing/allied healthcare like in your new country? (How is it different to home and how do you adapt to the differences?) Nursing in Saudi is quite different to what we're used to in Ireland. A lot of that is because of their cultural beliefs. It does take some getting used to, but at the end of the day you're still a nurse caring for patients as you would at home. You learn pretty quickly how to adapt and you're always well supported by your colleagues who've been through the same transition to a new healthcare system!

What professional development opportunities were offered to you? I was offered the position of charge nurse after some time there. I also undertook the role of RRT (Rapid Response Team) nurse close to the end of my contract, which I really enjoyed. There is a lot of focus on CPD and you are really encouraged to actively participate in learning and developing.

What have you enjoyed most to date? For me the best part about Saudi was the friendships I made and the adventures we went on together. It really is a unique place and I am so glad I had the opportunity to experience life out there. I have made the best friends, travelled to places I never imagined, and memories I will never forget!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of travelling to your chosen destination? GO NOW!!!..... And pack for all occasions!

Siobhan Henderson worked as a nurse in Saudi Arabia from 2018-2021

If you would like to apply to work as a nurse King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, Riyadh complete the application here

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