After working for the same NHS trust and in the same hospital for 22 years, experienced nurse Raymond felt it was time to explore his career options. Raymond decided to relocate to the Middle East to learn about the culture and find out what it was like to work in another healthcare system. The Middle East is renowned for a progressive approach to healthcare which often mirrors practices of European countries. Find out how Raymond is settling into his new nursing role in Abu Dhabi.
Why were you interested in moving to Abu Dhabi?
“I registered with a number of agencies and the majority of jobs which came through for interview were mainly in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Abu Dhabi is part of the UAE and I felt like it was a good option to explore.”
How long did the process take?
“I was offered a two-year contract. It took seven months from the job offer in October 2015 to getting everything signed off and ready in May 2016.”
How did you feel about the relocation?
“Leaving my family and friends was difficult however I had an opportunity in my life which I would never receive again. A lot of personal consideration had to be given into whether this was the right thing for me.
“The team at Medacs Healthcare provided a listening ear at all times. They kept me updated throughout the process including the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) registration. It was reassuring to know that if I relocated to the Middle East and found it wasn't for me, they would find me employment as soon as I got back to the UK which was a huge safety valve.”
What happened when you arrived in Abu Dhabi?
“I arrived in Abu Dhabi on 26 June 2016. The employer arranged my flight; I was met at the airport and taken to the hotel which they had booked. The next morning I met the Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for a chat and a cup of tea. I was made most welcome and her honesty, professionalism and approach were brilliant. I started work the day after and met the rest of the team.”
What is life like in Abu Dhabi?
“Life in Abu Dhabi is good and there are a variety of things to do. I have so far explored the shopping malls, spas, Jumeirah Towers, Corniche beach, Emirates Palace and Grand Mosque. I have also been to Dubai which is an hour away.
“The locals are extremely pleasant, kind and approachable. I have found that Abu Dhabi is a very safe place to live in. Mobile phone charges are cheaper here compared to the UK and so ringing your family is not costly.”
What would you tell another British nurse who is thinking of relocating to the Middle East?
“British people are well accepted here and everyone is very respectful. Finding accommodation at the beginning is the most difficult part. I had to look around various places and negotiate with the owners on price and payment options. My hotel apartment has a living room, small kitchen, separate bedroom and bathroom. For this, I pay around 9500 AED per month. Working out your finances is extremely important. I would say that you need to bring at least £2,000 with you to get you started.”
How do you find working as a nurse in Abu Dhabi compared to other places you have worked?
“The healthcare system is much more medically oriented. The administration of medicine is also different but you get a good orientation programme.
“The staff team has made me feel at home and I feel respected as a Senior Charge Nurse for the Emergency Department and Outpatients. I work a 48-hour week and time goes quickly. It is enjoyable and I do get job satisfaction. I have been lucky that my employer considers my personal and professional needs. My experience is also taken on board to improve the quality of patient care.”
What are your career aspirations and where would you eventually like to settle?
“I would like to find a similar position in Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Bahrain. Many people here have worked in Saudi Arabia and have had a really good experience.”