Interview with Dajana – nurse in NGHA hospital in Riyadh
- Dajana, December 24 th you have successfully passed your probation period with NGHA. How were those first three months of your working stay in Saudi? Did you feel the culture shock? If so, in which aspects?
I’m not going to lie, first three months were hard. New town, new hospital, new colleagues, totally different health system… There were some days where I doubted myself and thinking how I will never learn all those new things. But after the probation period, all of those things started to get easier day by day. Regarding the cultural shock, I didn’t experienced it in a “cultural” way, meaning that I didn’t have a hard time adjusting to live in a muslim country. My love towards arabic history, culture and language is actually the main reason why I moved to Saudi Arabia. So my cultural shock was more about adjusting to new hospital and the way of working in saudi health system than it was adjusting to new culture.
- All over Europe, the media ( TV, newspapaers, etc. ) present Saudi Arabia as a country difficult to live in, very controversial. What is your feeling about it ?
I get that question a lot! Objectively speaking, Saudi Arabia is a country which is totally different than anything we (Europeans) are used to. But to be honest, as a woman who likes to roam around all by herself, I have never felt more safe anywhere than I feel here in Saudi, for example. My point is – yes, media is important in spreading the news but sometimes the truth lies in informations you get from people who are living in Saudi, not the media.
- What would you say about the local people – Saudis ? What are they like?
Saudis are wonderful! They are kind and generous, they really want you to feel here like at home. And not just Saudis, here are a lot of Yemeni, Emirati, Qatari, Omani people who are just as nice as Saudis. I always tell, there is something in arabic hospitality that we Europeans can not understand 🙂
- Now back to your job – before you left for Saudi, you were working in obstetrics and gyn dep in one of the biggest hospitals in Zagreb. In your current hospital in NGHA you also work in obst. Gyn dept – what are the differences? ( equipment, procedures, patients, – anything )
Yes, in Zagreb I was working in biggest hospital for gynecology and obstetrics and here in Saudi, the hospital is even bigger! The main difference is, I would say, in policies and procedures. Also, what people sometimes don’t understand is that there are big differences in health care if your patient is, for example, from some south european country or from some asian country, physiologicaly speaking. For example – back in Zagreb, if I had a patient whose hemoglobin was lower than 100, most likely I would administer IV Iron. On the other hand, here in Saudi, I will administer IV Iron only if the hemoglobin is lower than 80.
- Hospitals all over Saudi usually work based on JCI standards. Have you already found sth that could be useful for your previous hospital in Zagreb? That you would recommend to implement?
Yes, I would say administration of medications. According to the JCI standards, all the medications have to be administered with a scanner which gives no space for some medication errors – you can not give wrong medication to the patient or give a medication in different time than ordered or even give a wrong dose because the scanner is going to warn you.
- When you have a day off, how do you usually spend it?
Since I live in Riyadh, the capital, I always have something to do on my days off. Ether I book some trip to the desert, or I attend some evens. When I have few days off in a row, I usually book a flight and I visit some other town. Saudi has 13 big regions and every of them is like a state for itself and you have some interesting things to do. For example, most of the people don’t know that now, in the winter months, in Tabuk region you can enjoy the snow while in Jizan region on the south, you can enjoy sandy beaches and the sun.
Dajana, thank you very much and good luck!