Work Assignment Issues

At this time I just finished packing my things for another transfer to another area from Jeddah’s main city to a far oil refinery/industrial city, Petro R*****. Although the place is still part of Jeddah, the people we talked to claimed that it normally takes two to two and a half hours to get there (and that excludes the heavy traffic build-up). The Petro boys will be leaving tomorrow with the other girls assigned to what I call ‘the province.’

By the way, I intentionally didn’t create an entry regarding my travel from Manila to Jeddah since things became hectic the past few days. But I would really like to create one, probably when I really got nothing to do to kill time. Anyway, it is pretty obvious from my previous entries that I left the Philippines to work as an emergency room nurse. And now I am here. I will still be assigned at the emergency room but not in the hospital setting, it’s going to be a clinic/community setting. Urghh.

Two months ago, I was offered a job contract to work at a private hospital in Jeddah with the post: Staff Nurse II - Emergency Room. Back then I am a hundred percent that I aced the interview (like my previous foreign job interview in February – details to be disclosed on my next entries) and I really did impress the interviewer, in this case, the Director of Nursing (DON); She even commented, “You’re a very good nurse, I’ll give you a post as an emergency room nurse. Welcome to our institution.” So then and there I thought, “This is it... I am finally leaving.”

The successful applicants were asked to come back to the interview venue a day after for the contract signing. Like what I read in other blogs I asked everything I wanted to clarify with the employer like the accommodation, transportation, benefits, etcetera. The salary offer was way lesser as compared to my offer in Riyadh Military Hospital but the employer assured me that male visas will surely be released within December (while male visas for RMH are still unavailable since March 2010 to the time I’m writing this entry). Everything sounded safe and fine so I accepted the offer.

Fast forward to December 20, the time the newest OFWs stepped on Jeddah’s floor. We were given a welcome letter from the housing department. That letter almost drained my adrenalin reserves and sucked all the energy I had; It says that I will temporarily be staying in an accommodation near the main hospital in Jeddah but will be brought to Petro R***** a week or two after. Whhaaattt?!?! For the information of the readers, Petro R***** partnered with our institution to provide their clients/workers’ emergency medical needs. Definitely they will be requiring ER nurses to man their emergency room for mass casualty incidents, trauma cases, and other urgent health matters. Although in the Philippines I was already made aware that there were ER nurses who were given a specified job offer, i.e., Staff Nurse II - ER - Refinery, I didn’t bother that much since my job offer didn’t bear the word ‘Refinery.’ All the while I was expecting to be working in almost the same environment as my previous hospital in the Philippines only to be slapped on the face learning that I will be assigned in a satellite clinic. Although some of my colleagues were quite happy that they’re assigned in Petro R*****, I felt the opposite. I felt sad and so unsure. I just told my self, “I will clarify with the Human Resource tomorrow.”

I was still hopeful that things may change when we get to talk to the Human Resources staff regarding the confusion about my post until I saw the DON’s note on my file, “Highly recommended for Petro R***** or ER main hospital.” Again deep inside I was shouting, “Why?!” I kept on thinking about the following things:
  • What have I told in my interview that made the employer decide to put me in a clinic?
  • What’s the use of working here if I will just be staying in a community setting/OPD set-up facility? I went here to gain more experience, not to lose all the skills I learned from my previous state-of-the-art hospital in the Philippines!
  • Being assigned in a satellite clinic will deprive me of a good learning environment wherein supposedly I can realize and develop my potentials to become an expert in emergency nursing.
  • How will I be able to transfer to the ICU if I will be staying in a clinic? I also would like to transfer to the ICU or CCU.
  • How will I be able to apply to an English speaking country if my experience says, “Emergency Room - Satellite clinic?” Of course they won’t count clinic as hospital experience?!
  • A good reason I accepted the offer is that I will be able to see my sister who also works here in Jeddah. So what happens now?!
While others try to convince me that assignment in Petro R***** will be exceptional I still keep my ideals intact and non-modifiable. Others may want to be assigned at Petro R***** because of the light work load and very good community environment but what dominates my mind is the phrase “a rewarding experience.” I want to be better every day as a professional nurse and never will I prefer a very relaxing, easy work environment where nothing can be learned.

Still confused and helpless, I together with a colleague (a co-ER staff who came from another state-of-the-art hospital in the Philippines) who shares the same sentiments, directly went to the DON to clarify the issue that has been haunting us for days.

She (DON) explained that assignment at Petro R***** is actually a privilege. They specifically chose a number of male ER nurses with good hospital experience to man their new emergency room; That they wanted individuals who have good decision making and critical thinking skills because they want to make a good impression with their partner. So she reiterated, “Having been assigned at Petro R***** is actually a privilege. You are the chosen ones.” Hearing that comment partially uplifted my spirit since the big question mark started to fade out in my head. So that technically means, as how I translate what she imparted to us, “We chose the best amongst the ER nurses we hired to be assigned at Petro R***** because we want to make a very good impression to our customers on our grand opening on January.” Whew! Thinking about that somehow removes the negativity in me. She added, “Once the operation gets stabilized we will rotate you, from Petro R***** to the main hospital, so that your skills will not be forgotten.” Well, that was a very good reassurance from her. I surely want to be based in the hospital and not in a clinic. And my parting words, “I really want to have a rewarding experience while working here in the Kingdom and I am certain that I can work effectively as an ER nurse anywhere but I really am aiming at working in the hospital setting. I hope you will consider my request.”

I really do hope that my assignment as an ER nurse in Petro R***** will just be temporary. Anyway, I still have to look at how the system works then probably after a few months from now I will be finalizing my decision if I’m going to request for transfer right away or I will stay further. For now I will just bear in mind what the Director of Nursing has claimed: You are among the best so we put you in Petro R*****.

P.S. So far, we, the Petro boys (the group of ER nurses assigned for Petro R*****), have not heard any negative remark about the place. We always get, “It is a very nice place only it's so far."


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