What works good in the Middle East for Nurses?
Note: Dear reader, location may vary situations from place to place. Most of the situations is applicable in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but is still applicable in the middle east countries.
I’ve been here in the middle east for a couple of years now, even though I didn’t work as a regular nurse in a hospital. But at least, I still have a foothold as a nurse and still I communicate, learn & share my ideas with my fellow colleagues in the profession.
It’s still feasible to work in the middle east, but surely, times change fast. It’s not like the situation in the past five to ten years. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is still in need of nurses from other nationality especially Filipinos as it try to fill the gap of bringing healthcare to their locals, they are building hospitals, hiring medical professionals to serve the populace brought by Petro – Dollar industry.
Being true to my introduction “what works good in the middle east for nurses”, there are some tips I would like to share not only to the nursing “community” but to others as well who stumble or pass by read nurses blog.
I hope & wish my amateur article serves you well if you’re planning to work here in the mid- east.
1. Establishing your self-faith
I can’t much discuss about it, but I would like to share, if you still don’t have a relationship with Christ Jesus as your personal savior, talk to Him in prayer right now and ask help to Him to help you. This will help you a lot as you begin or restart your journey here in the mid – east.
Why I place this as first, it’s noteworthy that some of the Filipinos working here in the Mid – east is converting to another religion. There’s nothing wrong if it serves in you well in your belief and spirituality, but in the sense for work security or for other reasons, then it’s a SIN. I even heard so that they can marry another just to fulfill a lustful desire or to circumvent the law then it’s a double SIN in that case.
Establishing one’s faith is essential, remember that Middle East is the cradle of the two big religions: Christianity & Islam. There are Christians working here in the Mid- east but particularly in Saudi Arabia, it is not allowed to practice one’s faith, and religious activities are prohibited.
2. Learn about their norms and traditions “Intertwined norms with religious belief”
There are a lot that I still haven’t encountered, but at least this is prevalent in the Kingdom
– Do not criticize or openly criticize anything in connection about Islam. This will get you in big trouble. It is equivalent to apostasy, and apostasy have a death sentence.
– There is gender separation between male and female. They are not even allowed to talk in public if its not on the matter of urgency or the situation calls for it.
Females are not allowed to do transactions by themselves even walking in a park without a companion of a male family member.
How does it affect us? Don’t go with a female or a male in the eyes of the public if you’re not married. Both of you will be sent in jail and such horrible incidents are reported about jails. It’s not the same in our country.
In closed door occasions, it is allowed to mingle with the opposite sex. Like birthday parties. I was invited by a friend of mine (an Arab descent) in his house to eat and talk about their religion. He was hopeful to make me a convert and such things I learned are some words important that you would like to learn & you encounter then always:
“Bismillah” – is always mentioned before doing anything especially for religious muslims
“Salam alaikom” – peace be upon you
“Wa alaikom assalam” be upon you – reply to Salam alaikom
“Malish” – sorry
“inshaalah” – God’s will
“maasalamah” – goodbye
“Forsa- sa’i dah” – nice to meet you
You can buy some books to guide you about DOs & DON’Ts in the Middle east. You will find it helpful.
There are also at home “table manners”:
– If you know the person inviting to you, then it is your discretion to accept the invitation. It is a privilege when you’re invited”
– When eating, be sure to use the right hand, the left hand is considered unclean.
– The food in front of you is the food allocated to you, don’t get any food without their consent. It does not conform with table manners for them.
– Don’t get up until they are finished eating or ask kindly until they are done.
– Consume the Tea when it is served to you.
– Don’t go with any person or even accept help or a ride if you don’t know the person who is offering.
These may lead you to big trouble. There are some incidents reported that male Filipinos are sexually harassed, the same with female Filipinas. Don’t go on a date or in a place when danger is a possibility. Such situations will lead to complication with laws.
– Don’t deal with illegal drugs or be included in the elicit activity. Even alcohol is prohibited. Death penalty are handed to them who deals with dangerous drugs & stripe in public and deportation for those who found were dealing with alcohol.
3. Keep & don’t stop “caring”. That’s the big difference about Filipino nurses
What they always like about us and praise Filipino nurses for is when we do our duty, there’s a touch of care. Hard work and deligence when we are working.
Fellow nurses, keep it up! That’s the reason why they are still keen on hiring nurses, female nurses especially, for they can both do care for female & male patients. I’m not discouraging male Filipino nurses who are looking jobs in the health sector, but they prefer female nurses.
4. Know your priorities.
You and I just make a living or anyone whoever is planning to come here. We don’t stay for long, and time comes when an Arab national will take our place. But for the mean time, what is your priority?
– Put Christ in the center in your life. Believe me, you’ll be blessed.
– Think about your family whom you left in the Philippines. When you think about them, temptations will not overcome you easily.
– Spend God’s resource in a correct fashion especially your finances. Save for the rainy days.
– Don’t waste your time; use it wisely. Money can’t buy back the time you used up, opportunities don’t come by easily.
– Plan carefully for the future. The current resource here in the Mid- east is on a “see-saw” motion. It may not incline to you. Always think about “greener pastures”.
– Be wise. “huwag kang magtiwala agad”. Maraming naging luhaan dahil sa maling tiwala.
5. Keep up the standard.
It is noteworthy that the locals have high regard with Filipino nurses. and they made big difference in the field in comparison with other nationalities. I may be one-sided, but as I see and share with my Arab friends, there’s a difference on how we work. A local big hospital hires mostly Filipino nurses, almost 90 percent. Even cleaners in the hospital are Filipinos. The hospital was graded “A” plus grade with the locals whom I meet and talked to because of the Filipino working there.
When you come and work here, you can judge by yourself the environment you’ll be encountering. That why keep up the standard. Keep abreast with current trends in the nursing profession.
6. Character is better than the profession we hold.
Some even have faked their licenses and stayed for long until they were found out guilty by the ministry and deported. Why did they stay long? Did their company know about it? You be the judge. They worked long because of the character they have, and when the work you have becomes a routine then comes the character.
Character is built in and may vary from each other. It starts in the family and shows up bringing the real you.
There are still a lot I would like to share, and it takes long to read. But these information “works good when you’re working or aspiring to work in the Middle east” both for nurses & other profession.
I wish you Good luck.
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