Nursing here in Saudi was definitely not what I had expected. The culture and the working life, is so much better than what I had anticipated.
I personally decided on Saudi for the sunshine which is something I have grown very accustom to even though I am still white as a ghost.
When I arrived in Saudi, we were met in arrivals by a Hospital rep they were brilliant, we got a Sim card sorted before we left which meant as soon as I got into my flat I could FaceTime family and friends.
During the Orientation week I got to know many people most of which were in the same boat so it was easy to bond with them and now they are my close friends here and we do everything together including going on holidays. During Orientation is when you get everything organised like the nursing registration, bank account, and Igama.
The hospital has been hiring international nurses for so long that the process for banking, visas, nursing registration etc. is smooth sailing and any questions you have you are guaranteed an answer.
Social life here at the minute due to Covid is very limited however before Covid I felt I had a better social life here than what I had at home. Also, with the amount of shopping malls here spending a day in a shopping centre is very easy. Cinemas and bowling are now popping up in most big malls so spending the morning shopping going for food and ending the day in either the cinema or bowling alleys tends to happen a lot. There are also endless amounts of sporting activities to try some of which I have found a secret talent I never knew I had.
Working in Saudi has been difficult at times but so supportive, the training opportunities are never ending and I have learnt a lot in my short time here already. Working in Saudi I was definitely worried about the language barrier, however having interpreters 24/7 is a great help, I have found here at KFSH a lot of patients or their relatives speak English as well. The hospital also put on classes for those wanting to learn Arabic. Working here in Emergency can be stressful at times however all staff support each other it is a proper work family here. The staff I work with have become lifelong friends even the staff that have moved on we all still keep in touch.
All in all, if I could give one piece of advice to anyone thinking about a career out in the Middle East, I would strongly recommend it. It’s the best thing I have done for my career.
Claire Sheridan travelled to Saudi Arabia, Aug 2019