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How to Succeed as an Overseas Doctor in Saudi Arabia

Author: dr_anweshi, Posted on Saturday, August 05 @ 23:40:45 IST by RxPG  

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Saudi Arab

Many doctors from India are coming to Saudi lately. I have been here and it's a bit different from what most of us expect. I'll try to get things a bit clearer for those who are waiting.

The selection process is usually direct interview that's advertised in all newspapers. It's a good idea to get registered in some online job sites because the recruiting agencies scan these sites. You can't apply directly. Only the Agencies can forward the application for you.

Once selected and granted the visa you can arrive in Riyadh. But most people are posted in some other region so there is one more flight to catch. There won't be anyone waiting for you at the airport 9 out of 10 times but you can contact the MOH Health Centre there and they will usually arrange something for you to report to the Regional Health Directorate.

You will have to deal in Arabic. Save the most senior bureaucrats the rest don't speak any other language apart from thank you n stuff. The next process is getting your papers done and you are posted to some place.

Most people coming with no post graduation get posted in primary health care centers in the periphery. If lucky you can be posted as Residents in hospitals. But in that they won't see your experience. You might end up a resident in Medicine when you are experienced in Orthopedics and vice-versa. You will next proceed to Medical check up (even though you had it done in India a few weeks back).

Remember, The Mantra Here is CYA (Cover Your Arse). Thats what everyone does. The non-Arabs are at a disadvantage linguistically too so we must be all the more careful. Documentation and seeing to it that the patient feels satisfied is what matters and that doesn't matter if you are ordering a whole body CT scan when you know it is not needed. Similarly most people will name the drugs they want and won't be satisfied till they are given it.

Every Saudi Health Facility has a hierarchy of Managers called Mudeers. Usually all Saudi, they are mostly Nurses, Pharmacists or Non Medical people. But they call the shots and the rule is BOSS IS RIGHT. If he is happy with you he will protect you. But that means a lot of maskafying n stuff.

Many young enthusiastic docs find it all ridiculous. The specialists here are mostly MRCPs, but that they earned just in theory. Many of them may not be up to standards, mostly the Arabs. But if he is a specialist you follow his advice, at least in records.
There are different entrances and waiting rooms for females. Be very careful in dealing with lady patients. Its always safe not to be alone with them (to avoid any complaints).
Mostly males wont have to deal with female patients but in Hospitals thats not the case
Also Saudi has no theaters n clubs and most of the places most of the docs r posted don't have any place to go out. Women should be in Parda. The shops close for the prayers daily four times. Though there are plenty of Indians there all you can do is have a party at someone's place. There are no associations and open parties and programs here.

And last but not least, bring at least 1500 riyals with you. Your first salary will be late, even up to 3 months though the Indian docs in the place you work will usually help you out.

This place is frustrating. So I'd say don't plan to stay here. Keep this as a money making enterprise and prepare for something else. It's easier said than done. Anyway Im leaving. I have been here two years and won't regret leaving it a bit.

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