Are Indonesian Nurses Still in Demand in Saudi Arabia?

Nursing is a profession that should be recognized as the pioneer for diaspora in the Middle Eastern Country. History teaches us how Indonesian nurses at the beginning of 1997 were recruited by Kuwait, followed by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE). At that time, Indonesian nurses were recognized even though the degree was equivalent to high school comparing to other nurses from different countries that held a diploma.

Although, the certificate is similar like high school, but the competency and skills were acknowledged by hospital management. I have seen, some of them held important positions ranging from head department to Chief Nurse either in healthcare facilities or in oil and gas companies.

A researcher from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) Nawawi mentioned that nursing is dynamic profession and has a broad opportunity to work abroad. The strengthen about nurses not only education that relatively short but also one of the most common healthcare available and demanded.

Research by Aswantini and Mita (2019) shows that career development is the main reason for Indonesian nurses working abroad, while position and salaries have followed. Reflecting on the predecessors who paved the way for working abroad, the long career for nurses today has a positive impact. Apart from the motivating factors for beginning a career abroad, there are also roles of those who have taken that path.

The data by Indonesian National Nurses Association in Saudi Arabia explain that some points need to be used as material for nursing careers analysis. Data on March 2024 shows that Indonesian nurses who have overseas member registration numbers are 209. The data does not include nurses who already have a member registration in Indonesia but working abroad which is around 520 nurses.

However, the overall data on nurses is still unknown because several synchronizations are still being carried out. I estimate that nearly a thousand nurses are working in Saudi Arabia today. The work areas are also varied, such as hospitals or clinics, rehabilitation centers, homecare and, occupational health nurses. If you look at the data and facts, there are fundamental things that have begun to change.

The challenges of becoming a healthcare worker in Saudi Arabia are now beginning to change when considering the types of healthcare workers and the path to becoming registered nurses. Previously, nursing profession is dominated, but now other healthcare workers, especially midwives, laboratory, and radiology also beginning to increase.

System improvements are carried out by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for foreigners who support other health workers to participate. In the nursing registration and evaluation system, commonly known as the Mumaris Plus platform, the work area for health workers is more organized, and the opportunity to become a registered health worker is easier.

In terms of types of health workers such as nurses and midwives, registration patterns are now more regulated, including classification, passing-grade scores, and examination service providers. Health workers only need to fulfill the regulated terms and conditions, process their applications independently through the system, and take the exams at designated service providers either in Saudi Arabia or Indonesia.

In addition, the requirements for working in Saudi Arabia are now also more focused, they have to provide the main requirements such as passport, degree certificates, license from their country of origin, certificate of experience at least one year, and the data authenticity verification documents by the Dataflow company.

In conclusion, the globalization era for Indonesian nurses has the right to seek opportunities abroad, particularly in Middle Eastern countries. The strengths and weaknesses should be carefully considered, but the potential for career advancement is significant. The process of becoming a registered nurse is relatively straightforward, with a wealth of information readily available. Those opportunities come with challenges, but nurses have embraced themselves and expanded their knowledge to become global citizens as a nurse.

Akhir Fahruddin S. Kep., MPH, RN
Latest posts by Akhir Fahruddin S. Kep., MPH, RN (see all)

Akhir Fahruddin S. Kep., MPH, RN

Occupational Health Nurse (OHN) at Elaj Medical Company, Riyadh, Arab Saudi | Head of DSA Review Center | www.devisaudia.com

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