Saudi Arabia is one of the richest nations in the world, but the country faces a chronic shortage of qualified health care practitioners. Doctors, nurses and ancillary health professionals are in short supply. In fact, the global consultancy firm Oxford Economics projects that Saudi Arabia will need an additional 10,000 physicians by 2020 if the nation wants to keep up with the demand for medical care. This is one reason why physician jobs in Saudi Arabia are so plentiful right now.
Working in Saudi Arabia
In order to work in Saudi Arabia, you will have to be highly qualified and pass a thorough background screening. You will have had to graduate from one of the medical schools listed in the International Medical Education Directory of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research.
Visa application processes will vary according to the country you’re applying from. Generally speaking, however, if a health care facility has made you an offer, you can rely upon your employer to assist you in obtaining the necessary documentation.
Overseas physicians often work as consultants to Saudi physicians employed in state-run and private hospitals and clinics. This most likely means that you will have to have post-residency qualifications in your field.
Living in Saudi Arabia
When you’re in Saudi Arabia, it’s important to remember that you’re a guest. Middle East traditions are very different than Saudi traditions, and while no one expects you to assimilate completely, it’s important to be mindful of general points of etiquette.
• Conversations about politics and religion should be avoided.
• Female physicians and the female family members of male physicians should dress modestly. Revealing outfits are inappropriate. Women’s clothing should cover the arms and the legs.
• In many instances, it is considered polite to remove your shoes before you enter a room. Touching another person with your shoe is considered the height of rudeness.
• Business relationships and personal relationships are not separated as much in Saudi Arabia as they may be in other parts of the world. Professional relationships will be most successful if they incorporate gestures of friendship and trust.