Career advice

Nursing in the Middle East

If you want to develop your career while experiencing a new culture, working in the Middle East could be for you, says Ann Griffin-Aaronlahti, managing director of global healthcare recruitment company Professional Connections.
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If you want to develop your career while experiencing a new culture, working in the Middle East could be for you, says Ann Griffin-Aaronlahti, managing director of global healthcare recruitment company Professional Connections

International assignments are a great way for UK nurses and other healthcare professionals to broaden their experience and work in some of the worlds most modern, state-of-the-art hospitals.

As well as seeing how healthcare is delivered in other countries, working overseas can enhance nurses career prospects as they gain experience in different parts of the world.

My company, Professional Connections, helps hospitals in the Middle East recruit top healthcare professionals from all over the world. There is a huge variety of roles available for nurses, in areas including endoscopy, gynaecology, cardiac and intensive care.

The

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If you want to develop your career while experiencing a new culture, working in the Middle East could be for you, says Ann Griffin-Aaronlahti, managing director of global healthcare recruitment company Professional Connections

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 Working with people from different cultures can help nurses' communication skills
Picture: Getty Images

International assignments are a great way for UK nurses and other healthcare professionals to broaden their experience and work in some of the world’s most modern, state-of-the-art hospitals. 

As well as seeing how healthcare is delivered in other countries, working overseas can enhance nurses’ career prospects as they gain experience in different parts of the world. 

My company, Professional Connections, helps hospitals in the Middle East recruit top healthcare professionals from all over the world. There is a huge variety of roles available for nurses, in areas including endoscopy, gynaecology, cardiac and intensive care. 

The working language of the hospitals is English, but as most patients speak Arabic, nurses are encouraged to take up the free Arabic classes provided to help them master the basics. Mandatory courses to enhance nurses’ skills are also provided, which help ensure that UK nurses’ registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council remains valid. 

Overcoming barriers

Working with people from different cultural backgrounds and overcoming language barriers can help improve nurses’ communication skills, and adapting to new and unfamiliar living and working environments helps improve flexibility. 

The healthcare professionals we place in Middle East often enjoy a tax-free salary and lucrative contract benefits, such as free accommodation, flights and healthcare, and a generous leave package of up to 61 days a year. The cost of living is lower than in any Western country, which makes it easy to save money, and the location of Saudi Arabia makes it great for travelling. 

Through our free service, we assist healthcare professionals throughout the process, from enquiry to application and interview. We also guide candidates through the necessary paperwork to successfully obtain licences and visas, and prepare instruction packs for nurses to make registering with the Saudi Council easier. 

What to wear

A common concern among our female candidates is what they should wear. In public, women are required to wear an abaya, a lightweight cloak that drapes over clothing, and they should carry a scarf in case they are requested to cover their hair.

Clothing in the housing compounds is more casual, however, and uniforms are provided by the hospital. Female nurses can walk around freely on their own at any time. They are not allowed to drive but all the hospitals have drivers available. 

Islamic society has strictly enforced codes (check the Foreign Office website for details). For example male nurses are not allowed to nurse females or children on their own, but we have many posts available for male nurses in the male wards or in critical care.

You will gain valuable expertise from working in the Middle East, and working with multinational colleagues will serve you well in your future career. 


Editor’s note: Nurses considering working in Saudi Arabia should do their own research, noting the marked differences in customs and strict prohibitions.

Job Fairs in 2017

To find out about the international opportunities offered by Professional Connections go to www.profco.com. Nurses and students can also visit the Professional Connections stand at the RCN Bulletin Jobs Fair in London in October.

For more information about the RCN Bulletin Jobs Fair, including the seminar programme and a full list of exhibitors at the event, visit the jobs fair website here.

  • 5 September – Liverpool
  • 3-4 October – London
  • 6 November – Nottingham
  • 4 December – Southampton

 


Ann Griffin-Aaronlahti is managing director of global healthcare recruitment company Professional Connections. 

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