A campaign to raise the profile of nursing as a profession in Saudi Arabia is currently in progress under the auspices of the Saudi Ministry of Health and other key healthcare facilities in the Kingdom.
The initiative is aimed at increasing the levels of youth employment and to create opportunities for them to develop careers. Family support is a key factor for the Saudi women and men who are interested in entering the nursing profession. While there are still ongoing societal concerns about females entering the Saudi workforce, experts say that they are seeing growing support for the "Saudization" of the nursing workforce in the Kingdom.
In this context, Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Humaidi, Assistant Deputy Minister, Curative Medicine, Saudi Ministry of Health (MoH), Riyadh, will be speaking at the upcoming Executive Nursing Conference taking place at the Saudi Health Exhibition & Conference in Riyadh on May 12-14, 2013 to discuss the MoH strategic direction for nursing in the Kingdom.
According to Jane Wilshaw, Executive Director of Nursing, King Fahad Medical City in Riyadh, and chair of the Executive Nursing Conference, " King Fahad Medical City ( KFMC ) has embarked on a 'Saudization' program to encourage more nationals to join nursing at KFMC . This move became imperative when those with existing Saudi nursing diplomas were no longer recognized for registration as "nurse specialists" and were employed as nurse technicians.
" KFMC are now inviting high school graduates, who studied science, and achieved a high GPA, to become scholars in order to assess their suitability for qualifying to be sent abroad to obtain an international Bachelor's degree in nursing. In addition, potential Saudi nurse scholars with diplomas are being recruited to join international bridging programs or to study in the Kingdom's universities."
While KFMC is aware that expatriate expertise is currently important to run a successful nursing faculty within the hospital, their strategy is for 30 percent of the nursing workforce in KFMC to be made up from national nurses by 2020.
The aim of the first Executive Nursing Conference is to highlight the Saudi nursing journey. It aims to attract nurses practicing at a senior level who are interested in knowing more about leadership, recruitment and retention and the strategic role of nurses within the healthcare journey.
Throughout the conference program, there will be 10-minute sessions where practicing Saudi nurses will share their career experiences of working in Saudi Arabia. The hope is that the Saudi women interested in the profession will be inspired to understand that every part of the nursing role is equally important.
Commenting on the launch of the Saudi Health Exhibition and Conferences, Dr. Salah Al- Mazroa, Deputy Minister for Engineering Affairs and Supply for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said: "The Saudi Ministry of Health is pleased to ensure patronage for an event such as this, just as it did for the previous editions of Saudi Medicare, that will work toward furthering the interests of the KSA healthcare industry from both a clinical and market perspective."
"The Nursing Conference is extremely proud to present a keynote presentation by Dame Christine Beasley, former Chief Nursing Officer, NHS, London, England who will be talking about 'Creating Inspirational Leaders'," said Wilshaw.
Professor David Sines from the Buckinghamshire New University in the United Kingdom is another eminent speaker within the international nursing profession and he will be discussing the "Development of Clinical Leaders for Excellence" at the conference.
The Saudi Health Exhibition & Conference is based on the strategic cooperation of Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions and Riyadh Exhibitions Company with the integration of the long running and successful Saudi Medicare Exhibition, and is held under the patronage of the Saudi Ministry of Health.