Early Inspirations

During my childhood, I spent a few stints in hospitals. Despite feeling ill or in pain, I found myself fascinated by the Nurses on their rounds. The sight of pumps, needles, and everything else going on around me intrigued me. Little did I know, I was born to be a Nurse!


The Wanderlust Begins

Another passion that burned within me was the desire to travel! And travel I did!!!


Nursing, as it turns out, is one of the best professions in the world to travel with. I can attest to that from personal experience. I’ve worked as a Nurse in Australia, Scotland, Ireland, England, Portugal, Abu Dhabi, and of course…Saudi Arabia recuitment agencies in Pakistan.


The Enigmatic Appeal of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia was on my radar for a very long time, perhaps even before I started my Nurse training. The Arabian Peninsula holds a sort of mystery and excitement like no place else, and I wanted to explore it! (The allure of a tax-free salary also had a nice ring to it, let’s be honest!)


Choosing King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre

I attended a workshop at CCM Recruitment’s office in Dublin, where I learned about the opportunities at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre (KFSHRC). KFSHRC is a tertiary medical and research facility in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. It is the national referral center for Oncology, Organ Transplantation, Cardiovascular Disease, and Genetic Diseases.


During my interview, I was offered the opportunity for further training and development in a new specialty, Paediatrics, due to my previous experience working with children with complex care needs. The benefits package offered, along with the additional training, was just too good to turn down. My decision to accept was a “No Brainer”.


The Saudi Experience

Working in Saudi Arabia is unlike anywhere else I’ve ever worked. I worked alongside people from over 50 different countries. One of my favorite things that we used to do on the ward was pot luck dinners to welcome new staff or for Masalamas (going-away parties). Everyone would bring a meal, and usually, there would be a vast array of Pancit from the Philippines, Curry from India, Irish stew from Ireland (that was my dish), to name just a few.


Workwise, the basic nursing principles are the same. However, the model used is based on the American system, so accreditation with JCI and Magnet are a major focus. I gained some great experience working on the Unit-Based Council monitoring KPIs and Quality initiatives.


Overcoming Challenges

The Saudi culture is very different from my own, so I had to learn a lot about their beliefs and customs. Not being allowed to drive was initially a minor inconvenience, but the hospital provided an excellent taxi service for its employees, and once I had established a good rapport with one of the drivers, I could rely on him to collect me at any time of the day or night so I was never stuck.


Embracing Social Life

I could honestly say I had a better social life in Saudi than I do now back here in Ireland. Life in Saudi is what you make it, and I made the most of every opportunity to get out and about and meet people from every walk of life. There are some fantastic restaurants in Riyadh with a choice of any type of cuisine you fancy. Arabic, Lebanese, Turkish, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Sushi, American plus there is even a Chocolate Café that does the most amazing CHOCOLATE PIZZA!!!


Dispelling Misconceptions

Ex-pat women do not have to cover their faces. When you go out to the malls or wherever, you are expected to wear an Abaya (long black dress-like garment), and I always carried a scarf in my bag in case I was asked to cover my hair (which happened very rarely). I was in their country after all, so it was important to respect their culture.


Enriching Experiences

Living and working with so many different nationalities was a fantastic experience. I made some great friends that I’ll have for life. I gained professional experience that has opened doors for me in ways that I never thought possible. The amazing memories and stories!


Top Highlights

  1. Playing Football with Naomh Alee GAA Club

  2. Traveling to the Farzan Islands off the coast of Saudi Arabia

  3. Snorkeling in the Red Sea off the coast of Jeddah

  4. Hiking through the Red Sands

Saudi Breakfast on a Friday morning at work with our Saudi colleagues

Moving to Saudi Arabia was one of the best things I have ever done in my life. I made some great memories with some amazing people. Both my personal and professional life have taken a turn for the better as a result of working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


It truly is the “Magic Kingdom”!