Challenges facing nursing profession in Saudi Arabia.

Challenges facing the nursing profession in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has set a high standard for its healthcare. It has gone to the extent of hiring well educated and trained nurses from other countries who can offer high-quality care to patients.   Immigrant nurses earn a good salary and find a good working environment, but like in every place, indigenous and immigrant nurses encounter some challenges.

Adaptation challenges by immigrant nurses

Saudi Arabia hospitals hire many nurses from other countries. Many immigrant nurses have the challenge to settle in an unfamiliar environment with little or no support system.  New work in a place with different people, culture, and language can be a hard thing to adapt. Studies show that many immigrant nurses have trouble to adjust to a new environment.

Other difficulties lie in adjusting to different healthcare systems and hospital policies.  It is common for a nurse manager to allocate a single staff nurse to be in charge of patients and also do nursing report. Additionally, it is only the staff nurse in charge who can collect the medications that doctors prescribe.

It is different from hospital policies in western countries and Asian countries like Malaysia where nursing managers allocate two staff nurses to a cubicle.   One nurse will be responsible for nursing procedures while another is in charge of the report. It will take time for immigrant nurses to adapt to different systems and policies.

Staff challenges facing the nursing profession in Saudi Arabia

Nursing is a team career, but new nurses to Saudi Arabia have to deal with these challenges in relating to colleagues.

Forming a support system with new co-workers

The way people relate with other varies but it is slightly challenging to create a working relationship with nurses from different backgrounds.  Some nurses even experience emotional disturbances during adjustment including loneliness, confusion, frustration, low self-confidence and loss of self-esteem.

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Extremely high expectations from employers, managers, and colleagues

Saudi Arabia employers and colleagues have great expectations about capabilities and clinical performances. Hospitals have strict prerequisites and standards before they accept that someone is capable of serving patients well.  Some conduct frequent strict job evaluations making it tougher to work than most nurses thought.

Staff shortages

Saudi Arabia like many other countries has a problem of nursing shortage. Staff at many hospitals work for long hours and attend to an extra load of patients.  Disapproval against gender mixing with rotating shifts and long working hours makes nursing to be seen as a socially unacceptable choice in this country. This negativity about nursing deters many Saudi women from enrolling to nursing schools. It makes the problem of shortage to escalate leading to heavier workloads and longer shits.  

Being short staffed causes personal and professional issues. Nurses do not have other options except taking on more shifts when a hospital has lesser staff. Covering for absences of co-nurses and sacrificing on important life occasions also becomes a frequent happening. Short staffing is a common reason for nurses to experience burnout and frustration.

Meeting patient expectations

Many patients have higher expectations than the level that nurses can achieve. Their expectations are not in consideration of staffing shortages and hospital budgets. It puts much strain on the nurses who have a lot to do in achieving patient care. The morale of nurses brings down the morale of nurses and gives them much stress when they hear that the patients are unhappy with the level of service.