In Conversation With: An Indian Neonatal Nurse in Saudi Arabia
<p>We had the pleasure of speaking to our <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Winter Scholar</a> and Member, Indu Gopalakrishnan Nair. Indu is an Indian Neonatal Nurse who moved from Kerala to Saudi Arabia in 2013 to improve her healthcare knowledge, earn a higher salary and progress in her career. In this interview, <strong>Indu discusses her:</strong></p> <ul><li>passion as a neonatal nurse 👶</li><li>involvement with the Indian community in Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦</li><li>advice for Indian nurses and 🇮🇳</li><li>plans to move to the United Kingdom. 🇬🇧</li></ul> <p></p> <h2>Where are you from in India?&nbsp;</h2> <p>I&#8217;m from Kerala. A small state in India. As you know, it&#8217;s famous for its mesmerizing backwater and all our health facilities are also good. I did my Bachelor&#8217;s Degree in Nursing at Amala Medical College in Kerala and after 2.5 years of experience, I migrated to Saudi Arabia in 2013 to improve my career.&nbsp;</p> <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img decoding="async" loading="lazy" width="820" height="312" src="" alt="Kerala backwaters" class="wp-image-13708" srcset=" 820w, 300w, 768w" sizes="(max-width: 820px) 100vw, 820px" /></figure> <h2>Why did you decide to move from India to Saudi Arabia?</h2> <p>I wanted my career to grow more. My dream was to move to a country to improve my healthcare knowledge. And so I came to Saudi Arabia. It is a good place to live and the healthcare facilities are constantly improving. At the moment, I live in Al Jouf, a small province near Jordan and a nice place to live. I started my career in an intensive care unit at a general hospital.&nbsp; But when my husband joined me in KSA, we moved to Sakakah, where I began working as a neonatal nurse. My husband is also a nurse and holds a diploma in nursing. He works as a psychiatric rehabilitation nurse.</p> <h2>How did you find moving to Saudi Arabia from India?&nbsp;</h2> <p>One of my friends worked in KSA and told me how the health management system works for the staff nurses. Employers also give training to health personnel to continue their education in the hospitals. So when I heard that and saw that the salary would be good for financial stability, I decided to move.</p> <h2>What licensing exam did you have to do in India to be eligible to work in KSA?&nbsp;</h2> <p>After completing my BSC Nursing degree, I registered with the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Indian Nursing Council</a> and the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Kerala Nursing and Midwives Council (KNMC)</a>. Then I sat my <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Prometric exam</a> at a center in India, and I came to Saudi Arabia.</p> <h2>Did you secure a job before you came to Saudi Arabia?</h2> <p>While I worked in my previous role, I <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">applied for a position in Saudi Arabia</a> and got my documents verified and processed. Once I got my visa, I gave my employer one month&#8217;s notice and then resigned from my job.</p> <h2>Once you arrived in KSA, did you start work immediately?&nbsp;</h2> <p>First, we went through an orientation program and were given proper training for a month before working in our departments. I was appointed to NICU, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.&nbsp;</p> <h2>What is your employer like?</h2> <p>We have the freedom to work in our hospital and our administration is great and supportive. Whenever we face a problem, they help us to recover from it. Working conditions are good.</p> <h2>What is your favorite part of the job?</h2> <p>We mainly deal with premature babies, so their smiles are enough to make my day better when we provide the proper care.</p> <h2>What is the most challenging aspect of your job?</h2> <p>For some patients, we can prioritize their care. But for newborn babies, we face some challenges.&nbsp; If we do a procedure, their whole body system will only work as long as we work quickly. Otherwise, their life will be in trouble. And because babies are more prone to infection, we have to follow strict infection control protocol during procedures.&nbsp;</p> <h2>What is a day in your job like?</h2> <p>I work as a neonatal nurse in a nursery, a department where babies are with their mothers. I also work in the nursery soon after delivery, where we take care of the babies.&nbsp;</p> <p>When I begin my shift, I am given a patient&#8217;s history and care plans. Then we strictly follow the doctor&#8217;s orders before administering medications or care, particularly in the case of premature or newborn babies. We need to administer the correct dosages and follow the rules of medicine. And I have to document everything I do. Then we accompany the doctor on their rounds to the patient and prepare the necessary medication. Then we give medical announcements, and some days, we have continuing medical education (CME).&nbsp;</p> <h2>Does the hospital provide all the training for you?&nbsp;</h2> <p>Monthly, we do continuous health education. We also have access to free websites to attend courses and classes for CME hours. It is important to complete particular hours to renew our professional registration with <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">SCFHS</a> and renew our contracts.</p> <h2>How often do you have to register your nursing license?</h2> <p>If we have more CME hours, we can register for two years, and if we have fewer CME hours, we can register for one year.</p> <h2>Are many of your nursing colleagues also from India?</h2> <p>A lot of my colleagues are from India and some others from the Philippines, Sudan, and Egypt.&nbsp;</p> <figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img decoding="async" loading="lazy" width="820" height="312" src="" alt="" class="wp-image-13707" srcset=" 820w, 300w, 768w" sizes="(max-width: 820px) 100vw, 820px" /></figure> <h2>Can you speak Arabic?&nbsp;</h2> <p>As I came here in 2013, I now know how to speak Arabic, from dealing with patients&#8217; relatives, we have to talk in Arabic.</p> <p>My employer gave us pamphlets and some Arabic classes. But I learned most of my Arabic from working. Experience makes you better too because you listen and understand how to communicate.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Do you have any tips for other women in India to help them further their careers overseas?</h2> <p>There is a bigger emphasis now on the importance of a good healthcare system and more women are joining the nursing profession. So I encourage my friends and family to embark on a career in nursing for career advancement.&nbsp;</p> <h2>What are the other benefits of a career in nursing in KSA?</h2> <p>If we perform well in our careers, we are given rewards or certificates. If you prove your ability, your position can be improved. That&#8217;s why it&#8217;s excellent to <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">work in Saudi Arabia</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Do you have any tips for anybody from India who is considering moving to Saudi Arabia?</h2> <p>Pass your Prometric exam before coming to Saudi Arabia, get your <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">PSV</a> report and set your <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"> account</a> up.&nbsp; That way, everything is done legally.</p> <figure class="wp-block-image size-large is-resized"><img decoding="async" loading="lazy" src="" alt="Explore Saudi Arabia" class="wp-image-13709" width="610" height="232" srcset=" 820w, 300w, 768w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" /></figure> <h2>Did you always want to be a nurse?</h2> <p>Yes, I always wanted to be a nurse. I get complete satisfaction from my work as a neonatal nurse. We play a big role in a patient&#8217;s improvement. So I love helping a patient recover from their health problem and I will surely encourage my child to become a nurse.</p> <h2>What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in nursing?</h2> <p>Nowadays, there are more opportunities like critical care nursing and specialization in all other departments. So don&#8217;t stick to your major only because I think it&#8217;s necessary to update your knowledge and to be a part of healthcare as a whole. So whenever my juniors ask questions regarding their career, I tell them to continue studying. After my graduation, I completed a 3-month diploma in infection control.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Do you hope to progress your career as a neonatal nurse?</h2> <p>Yes, of course, I will stay in neonatal nursing because I completed my eight and half years in this field, so I want to continue with my progression.</p> <h2>What are your hopes for the future?</h2> <p>Currently, I&#8217;m studying <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">OET</a> because I would like to <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">move to the UK</a>.</p> <h2>Outside of work, what do you like to do?</h2> <p>I live with my husband and 5-year-old daughter. When I’m not working, I like to spend time with my friends in hotels and restaurants. When I have more time, I enjoy reading e-netbooks that are available here and the books I brought from India.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Are there many people from India living there?</h2> <p>Yes, in my state, there are more people from India. We do family gatherings and it is nice to live here with my friends from Kerala, which helps with any homesickness or being away from India.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Do you travel around KSA?</h2> <p>Pre-COVID, I traveled around Saudi Arabia a bit with friends and family. But because I work in neonatal care, we had to be careful. It was quite difficult working during the pandemic because the babies are more at risk and prone to infection.</p> <h2>How do you plan to spend the US$1,000 Winter Scholarship Fund you received?</h2> <p>I want to spend the fund on my education and do a certificate in neonatal care nursing.&nbsp;</p> <h2>How did your verified credentials help you with your career?</h2> <p>After passing my Prometric exam, I got my PSV report, my TrueProof. Once I got it, my visa was approved. I think it’s so important to get your credentials verified to get a secure job in any country.</p> <h3>If you want to take your career to Saudi Arabia. Browse our healthcare roles in KSA here:</h3> <div class="is-layout-flex wp-block-buttons"> <div class="wp-block-button"><a class="wp-block-button__link has-text-color has-background" href="" style="border-radius:50px;background-color:#00497a;color:#f5f5f5" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Apply for nursing roles in Saudi Arabia</a></div> </div> <p></p>