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Nursing In Saudi Arabia – Kaitlyn’s Story

Q&A – Saudi

Where are you from? Australia

When did you travel to the Middle East? May 2019

When and why did you decide it was time to take your nursing career abroad? January 2019 I decided to travel abroad, I enjoyed my nursing career in Australia but many nursing colleagues had suggested I should experience nursing outside of home.

Why did you choose Saudi Arabia as your destination? King Faisal Hospital. It is Magnet accredited and to achieve that standard outside of the U.S is an achievement of pro-active nursing professionals

What was the reaction of your parents and friends when you told them and how did you manage that? Surprise but then very supportive

What was your first week like in Saudi? Very exciting but nervous

When you move to another country, there’s so many factors in play – culture shock, making friends, adjusting to a new job, the list goes on….How did you find the transition from you’re home country to the Middle East?

A challenge but thankfully I made friends with the new arrivals and I was given a lot of support by my colleagues in the unit I was assigned too.

Was there a big culture shock? What affected you the most and how did you adapt to this? The culture shock was not as big as I thought, some aspects I was new too, but again the friends I made supported me through it.

You’re currently working for the King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre I Riyadh – How did the hospital help with the transition? Very supportive team in King Faisal who guided me every step of the way.

What was the accommodation like? Very Modern and comfortable.

There’s a lot in the media about Saudi at the moment– do you feel safe? What has been your personal experience as a woman there? As a woman in Saudi Arabia I feel the same as I do in any country. There are the same dangers for women here as anywhere else.

What part of your new life have you found the most surprising? How easy it is to start thinking of Saudi as home.

What are the positives of living in Saudi Arabia? Good weather, it is a very good location to travel the world from.

What is your most memorable moment so far? Seeing the different sites of Saudi Arabia eg the red sands and the desert camping sites

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced and how have you manage them? Trying to communicate with people who don’t speak English or English is not their first language, but the hospital provides Arabic classes and staff are supportive in translation.

How are you find nursing in another country? How are you adapting to the differences? Staff are very supported on the floor by their peers. Head and Assistant Head Nurse are also there and we have very helpful Clinical Instructors.

What career opportunities or professional development have you found there? They run many classes and courses to improve your career

How did you make friends? What is your social life like? What do you do on your days off? Sight see, travel, shop sports all the same as back home.

What were your goals before travelling to Saudi? Are you achieving what you set out to do or have these changed? To improve my nursing ability, learn new procedures, Travel, see the culture of the region.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of travelling to the Middle East? To come with an open mind. Be aware of current events but judge on your own assessment.

What is your overall opinion to date? So far very enjoyable, I would recommend this opportunity to anyone who is up for a challenge.

Kaitlyn Besso, Riyadh 2019 – current

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