Less than 30 years ago, the idea of working overseas as a nurse is nearly unthinkable. Most of the time, the only type of jobs that enable you to travel were being international businesspeople, commercial flight pilots, flight attendants or engineers. In recent years, however, the demand for healthcare professionals in some countries soared.
In places like North America, Western Europe and the Middle East, the demand for healthcare professionals need to be compensated by recruiting staff from other countries. Saudi Arabia is one of those countries that have manpower shortages in their hospitals.
How does one become a Saudi Arabia nurse? There are many agencies that offer placements into Saudi Arabian hospitals, so it is advisable to go through those. However, there are many illegal recruiters out there, so applicants should be careful and make sure that they are dealing with legitimate people.
Nurses working in Saudi Arabia will be assisting patients who are mostly locals and the hospital’s expatriate staff, including their dependents.
The nurses should have good English speaking skills in order to communicate within the hospital. Translators will be available for patients who cannot speak English. Some hospitals offer Arabic language courses to their staff, to help them go about their work.
Foreign nationals intending to work in Saudi Arabia as a nurse are typically offered only single-status visas. Visas for dependents are normally only given to senior hospital staff and consultants.
With the prospect of working from another country, nurses also need to adjust to the Saudi Arabian culture. As with most Islamic countries, there are various widely perceived restrictions on women. One of these is that foreigners believe that female nurses need to be covered up all the time. There is no need to cover up from head to toe, but the women are expected to wear an abaya over their normal clothes when going out in public. These leave their faces uncovered. Some foreigners also believe that the female nurses will not be allowed to go out of the compound they are living in. This is not true. They are allowed to leave the compound as they wish, without an escort. Female foreign workers also do not need to walk behind the men, as this is Saudi Arabian tradition that foreigners do not need to follow.
Once approved, being a Saudi Arabia nurse has numerous perks. Nurses in Saudi Arabia are believed to be some of the highest paid in the world, with a salary bracket of US$23,000 to US$33,000 per annum. The salary is also usually tax-free, depending on the nurse’s home country. At least one return flight is paid for, and some hospitals may even offer their nurses a return flight mid-year. Aside from all that, nurses also usually get free accommodation and their utility bills are taken care of. Saving money is, therefore, not a problem for nurses.
With all the above mentioned perks, it is no wonder why so many nurses would want to enrich their careers in Saudi Arabia.