Irish Surgical Nurse in Riyadh
Q1. Where are you originally from & how long have you been a nurse?
Originally from Kilkenny in South Ireland. I have been nursing 7 years post qualification.
Q2. How long have you been in Saudi Arabia now, and which city are you currently living in?
Currently living in Riyadh with two months
Q3. Have you always wanted to work in Saudi Arabia?
No. I have worked in Ireland and briefly in the UK
Q4. What were your thoughts/impressions during your first days in Saudi Arabia? Was it what you expected, or vastly different? How so?
The initial days were hard to adjust to. With COVID and waiting so long to get to Saudi the main thought I had was to just get here. I never considered what it would be like when I got here so the culture shock hit me hard. But I'm here only 2 months and have already settled in, met amazing people and done great things, like desert camping, which I could never do at home. Initially it is overwhelming but 100% worth the stress. You gain so much when you get here. And it makes you much more independent and strong as a person.
Q5. Did you find the airport arrival difficult/stressful, or was it manageable?
It was manageable. I couldn't find my airport liaison initially but once connected to internet it was all made easy.
Q6. What was the arrival and orientation process like? Was it helpful in terms of getting yourself set up for life in KSA?
So with COVID, I had to isolate for 1 week after arrival, this was actually good as it gave you time to catch up on sleep but also to wrap your head around the big move. The orientation process was affected by COVID and a bit disjointed. But all in all it did help to settle me into life and work in Saudi.
Q7. What was the licensing/registration process like? Did you find it difficult or easy? Was the information and assistance from Profco helpful in terms of licensing?
The application process was a bit of a struggle but ProfCo helped so much and guided me every step of the way.
Q8. What is it like at work? Is it vastly different to working back home, or much the same?
Work is different. It's a lot more computer based than work in Ireland but it is manageable once you get used to it. It's a lot less hands on than the nursing I'm used to but most patients have sitters with them so they tend to personal care. It is an adjustment definitely but you take it in your stride as you are adjusting to everything new in Saudi.
Q9. Do you struggle a lot with the language barrier or is it manageable?
Initially the language barrier stressed me out beyond belief. But once you are on your own without a preceptor you find you manage. It is still hard but there's always google translate and other staff who speak Arabic to translate if you struggle badly.
Q10. What is are the housing and recreation facilities like?
The apartment is great, small but great and it's all included. There's a gym in the basement of the complex and a pool in the complex that's joined on to my one.
Q11. What is the social life like?
Socially it is great, there's a lot of opportunities for outdoor activities and clubs. It is definitely worry joining clubs initially even just to meet people. There's also opportunities for going out into the desert and camping or just on tours. Riyadh is also a haven for foodies, and there's is more than enough choices for nice dinner locations.
Q12. Do you manage to get out sightseeing etc. much? Is getting around easy to manage?
It is easy to get around whether it's with other ExPats who drive or even tour groups who cater for tourists and even getting drivers to take you places helps too.
Q13. How has the decision to work in Saudi Arabia affected you, professionally and personally?
It has made me an more outgoing person mainly, I have joined the Irish GAA team out here, something I would never have done back in Ireland.
This has been something I've planned to do for years and took me 18 months to get here. So the fact I managed to get here on my own and still be here is amazing!! It will make me a more independent and strong person, more willing to take risks like this in the future.
Q14. Do you have any tips or advice for other nurses who are contemplating the move to Saudi?
Just apply and do it.
It won't be easy at the start but it will be worth it. A lot of people I've met out here came for 1 year and have stayed for 3 and above. It is a lifestyle you get very used to and meet some amazing people who have gone through the same thing you have.
If you wish to consider working at KFSH Riyadh why not join a webinar on June 16th with the Director of Nurse Recruitment at KFSH to help you decide. Register here to attend the TEAMS Webinar- Nursing in Saudi Arabia
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