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By Syaifoel Hardy
Far before working abroad, in the mid of the eighties, the early stage of my career in nursing, I heard a lot about the ‘opportunities’ of Indonesian nurses working abroad. Especially in the Middle East, Arab countries. Like other common Indonesian nurses, I need better life, better income and better career. Though, I knew that Riyals, Dinnar or Dollars were not the only factor pushing my feet to land on foreign land.
One of my juniors was selected. He went and worked in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), through an agency in Jakarta. As the internet was not yet available, sometimes, I received letters from him, told lots of interesting stories that encouraged me more. The beauty of the desert, international community, the generous of Arabs, the fascinating Arabian gold, perfumes and the wonder of electronics in the kingdom, were all the focus of many nurses, he said.
Besides, being there means close to the Holy Land of Makkah and Madinah. Those two places are sacred for the Muslims. Indonesian Muslims are not exception. Many of us, including nurses dream of visiting the place. My friend, a gentleman from Mojokerto-East Java, as mentioned in the letter, also described the hardship being an expatriate in an Arab country. I knew from him, that to work and live in Arab counties,is not an easy decision.
Going abroad, in my mind at that time, was not simple either. There are lots of things to be prepared. One of the very important things is communication. Therefore, if I prepared myself by studying English, it was not because of without having valid reasons. During my days, there were only a few nurses interested studying English as well as having plan to work abroad. though no one denies, English is considered as the window of the world. I knew that in the future, nurses would have to face so many challenges. Not only a language barrier. Cultural, lifestyle, climate and social lifeare some other major barriers to mention. But, for me, studying English before working was the best option.
More than 20 years is now over. The world of Indonesian nursing is completely different. From education system, its levels, job opportunities, mindset, perspectives, till lifestyles of the nurses. Not less than 400,000 nurses are working at present at various healthcare settings, from Sumatera to Papua. Yet, tens of thousands nurses are still wondering where to land their job in the archipelago.
Well, this is not my responsibility as an Indonesian citizen. It is the Government’s who has created schools, education system, curriculum and, of course jobs. However, I feel sometimes guilty to see the juniors are living with speculation. They are holding nursing diplomas in their one hand, with no certain future ahead welcoming them on the other hand.
The Government is not able to accommodate all nursing graduates. Not even 10% of the fresh ones. Likewise, the private sectors. How many hospitals or clinics are able to employ them? This issue is really critical if we just don’t want to produce nursing professionals without proper jobs. The results? Many of them change their profession. Many are frustrated. Even if going abroad is an option, I encounter sometimes, working abroad for them is not their best choice. As if, the Indonesian nurses in Qatar are, for examples, of such situation still in the mid of ocean. Whether they are in the right tract. Continue reading Indonesian Nurses in Qatar: Career Prospective and Challenges