Saudi Arabia - Good Idea or Not - page 19

by 43RN20 234,327 Views | 246 Comments

As seen by a Registered Nurse from the United States, who is now on assignment, it can be hard to adjust to hospital nursing in Saudi Arabia. That is particularly true in the hospital complex that serves the Saudi Royal Family.... Read More


  1. 0
    Thanks for the outline of working in Saudi. I like the point you make about the purpose that you're there, so if we all keep that in mind when working in a different environment, it'll make things much more bearable.
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    I am in contact w/ the Helen Ziegler agency currently and looking at a position in Riyadh. The income she quoted was 58k, which although it is tax-free, still seems a bit low all things considered. I also am a little intimidated by Riyadh, just based on other people's posts. I think a smaller city might be a better fit for me. Does anyone know of any agencies w/ positions in kidney/liver transplant inpatient units outside of Riyadh?
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    As far as nursing in Egypt, I would let all of you know the following: (I never did nursing in Egypt but I lived there for 4 years, 2 years in Cairo and 2 years in Luxor (Upper Egypt) in a village. There are basically 3 types of facilities: private hospitals for private paying patients (wealthy Egyptians and foreigners). There is no health insurance, so if you want to go to a private hospital you must be able to pay in full out of pocket. I was inside a private hospital in Ma'adi (a suburb of Cairo) and I can tell you that it was immaculate and neat as a pin and had all the modern equipment of the time (1980's). Then there are the government hospitals, which accept all patients. I was also in one of those. It was dimly lit and kind of grubby appearing. I went there trying to see if I could get a shot of epinephrine for asthma. The doctor met me at the door and proposed to inject me with a glass syringe. I asked him about autoclave facilities and he said their autoclave had been broken for some time. As you can imagine, I high-tailed it out of there without my shot. It turns out that you can buy syringes and epinephrine injectables from a pharmacy (pharmacists live inside the pharmacy and even if the gate is closed, they will open it at 3a.m. if you bang on it hard enough). That is the far safer route than any government hospital. The vast majority of Egyptian women give birth at home, for fear of infection in such hospitals. Then there are what I always thought of as "bush clinics" in very rural areas. I was in one of those for an asthma attack. As with government hospitals, no sheets, pillows or bedding are provided. Patients have to bring their own. Patient's families also have to bring food for the patient, as no food is served. The day I was in the bush clinic, a women had been accidentally electrocuted when she hung her wet wash on a low hanging line which turned out to be a main power line. (People tap electricity from main power lines and run it into their houses.) There were no drugs, medications, pain meds or anything else to help this poor lady. They simply laid her on a bed. She lay there unconscious but still breathing. Her situation had no changed when I left several hours later. I was cared for by a doctor who had gotten off the overnight train with me and she knew to send to the pharmacy for I.V. supplies and medicine. She stayed with me until I was able to go home on my own and refused any money from me. Point is: things are very different in Egypt from what we are used to in the U.S. and very different from what the Saudi royal family enjoys. I think that, probably, for foreign nurses ... the only place you could be employed is in the private hospitals. You could not be hired by govt hospitals unless you were an Egyptian nationale and rural clinics do not have a medical staff, per se.
    LovedRN and Fiona59 like this.
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    I'm currently working in Jeddah, which is the more laid back sister city of Riyadh. The hospital is currently under construction/expansion, so I'm sure there are positions available in your specialty. I've been here for 2 months and like it. From what the other girls tell me, Jeddah is better to live in than Riyadh.
  5. 0
    Hi Caligirl,
    I'm a NY'r w/ 9yr experience interested in working in the Middle East. First, I like the ratio of 4 patients. Are there certain hospitals that you recommend. What agencies offer the best package? You mentioned that the salary is set by the hospital and not the agency, so can you explain how come I'm hearing that some staff nurses have much different salaries. For example, a nurse w/ 1 yr. experience having a higher salary than those experienced nurses. Have you worked in Dubai-would the salary be about the same? Thanks for your time and I hope you continue to enjoy this experience. I'm eager to get there, but I need the right info.
  6. 3
    Hi New York

    The nurses here are not paid by experience, the hospital sets one pay package for everyone, but if you work ICU,NICU, or PACU you'll make 2-3k more. However, the hospital pays according to your nationality/country of origin. Westeners/Americans make the most, followed by Australia and New Zealand,Canada, South Africa, and then Filipinos.
    before I came, I checked out 2 agencies, both had the same rate. Now that I'm here, I've checked around and we all have the same rate according to nationality. Also, please be mindful that you are doing primary nursing so that 4:1 ratio is something special lol
    The base salary is $51k, along with quarterly bonuses, living stipend, unit allowance, and completion bonus, will total $66,240.
    HOWEVER, I learned when I arrived here, that as of June 2011, the hospitals will no longer pay for the cost of living stipend, which equals roughly $8k/per year. Also, units that were previously considered "specialty" units, are now classified as medical units, so the unit stipend has dropped sharply. In my opinion now, its not worth it to come here.

    So basically, if you come now as a m/s, tele, peds, oncology, or operating room nurse, your pay will be $57k.
    As for cities, all I can say is I purposely avoided Riyadh only because its very strict, whereas other cities like Qatar and Jeddah are more laid back.
    Hope that helps!

    P.S. If you message me, I can forward the salary breakdown as received from the agency to you via adobe
    havivi, LovedRN, and nightnursecarol like this.
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    Thanks so much for this info.! It really helps. I still plan on going for atleast a yr., but I'm trying to get a nursing buddy, so I don't have to be down there alone. Can you email me the agency info. carolw1972@optonline.net
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    BTW, since hospitals set the salary, have you networked with other nurses to find out the higher paying hospitals? Thanks so much for your feedback. feel free to email me.
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    Hi Night nurse
    I'm at King Faisal, which has a hospital in both Riyadh and Jeddah. the king gave 200 million to the hospital for renovation. Both of these are the largest and creme of the crop hospitals in Saudi Arabia. (The royal family is treated at the one in Riyadh). Having said that, all the other hospitals pay a much lower rate (National Guard Hosp, King Abdulliz, etc) So as for pay rates, this is the highest you will get.

    For the person who asked, any hospital in the UAE in Abu Dhabi and Dubai generally pay about $20k less per year, and you have to pay part of your rent.

    If you go to Riyadh, the apartment is shared between 2 people. If you go to Jeddah, you have your own studio apartment.
    Lastly, you can go to the website for more info, and also to see pics of the housing, etc.

    Good luck! You'll be just fine if you come alone. Trust me, whichever country you're from, your comrads will FIND you lol!
    Last edit by californianurse1974 on Sep 27, '11 : Reason: sp
    havivi likes this.
  10. 0
    Hi Cali.

    Can you email me the breakdown from your agency, that you said you have. carolw1972@optonline.net I'm NY'r who you wrote to earlier. Thanks so much for giving me the info. of the hospital b/c i did hear that he Royal hosp pay the highest. I appreciate all the info. you have given to me. Enjoy your time.


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