An Australian Nurse in Saudi Arabia: Chloe Ahearne’s Story

Had you asked me a year ago where I would be today, I wouldn’t have said I’d be living and working in Saudi Arabia.

I arrived here in December 2016 and, a few months in, I wouldn’t change it for anything. As soon as I landed, I was met with at the airport a hospital representative. I was taken to my accommodation and allowed time to settle into the housing I’d now know as home.

The housing is spacious and comfortable with basic set up provided for you. There are many varying housing blocks which you can also apply for, single and shared accommodation. You have access to a gym, swimming pools and tennis courts, some grounds even have little coffee shops.

Before I left people I remember specifically making statements like ‘You’re so brave to be going to the Middle East!’ but in truth, coming here I’ve never felt safer in my life, and at no point have I questioned my decision to move here.

As a female, you are so well catered for. The hospital has buses, organised shopping trips and taxi services where usually you find yourself a driver you use regularly.

Life is relatively comparable to life at home and while you have to wear an abaya and some elements are a little altered, you still have the means to live as you would have from your westernised country. The expat community makes up a large proportion of King Faisal hospital employees so the opportunity to meet new people to build relationships with people from all over the world is vastly opened to you.

Life as a nurse for me is vastly different to my previous experience. It’s a world that opens opportunities for growth as a practitioner. In some aspects I feel autonomous in ways I wasn’t able to from my home country: I am experiencing the delivery of care in elements I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to at home.

That isn’t to say that each day is easy. Of course, culturally there are vast differences in care, but it’s exciting to learn new ways, new mannerisms. You also have the opportunity to learn new languages. You grow as a person in ways that are far beyond what you imagine possible.

Sometimes Saudi life does bring frustrations. Perhaps the greatest challenge has been learning ‘Saudi time’, inshallah as they say, sometimes processes take longer than perhaps we’re used to, but again I think there’s beauty in this. We’re often so caught up in the fast pace of life that your taught to slow down and be patient.

Like any journey in life, it comes with both ups and downs, of course, there are days where you miss your family and friends but know that you also build a little community of friends who become your family. The opportunities are limitless here, I’ve been here in Saudi Arabia just a few months and so far I’ve traveled to Doha, Bahrain, Dubai, Jordan and Sri Lanka. The world literally feels like it is at your feet. The travel is breathtaking and something that as I’ve come to learn is never quite given justice without having done it for yourself.

For me as a person, I have not once questioned my choice to come to Saudi Arabia, I have never felt more a sense of peace. It really feels like home. Life had become a bit mundane for me, and for the first time I feel alive and in love with my life all over again. I feel excited for what’s still to come. I would encourage anyone who is considering the move to literally take a chance.

 

If you’re interested in exploring nursing opportunities in Saudi Arabia, click here to learn more. We specialise in placing nurses overseas and would love to chat to you about your options. Feel free to call us on 03 9864 6010 for a confidential discussion.