Name: Rebecca Phaleni
Nationality: South African
Position: Charge Nurse Emergency Department
Employer: Interhealth Canada

Background Information: Rebecca Phaleni is a highly experienced charge nurse specialising in emergency department. She manages all aspects of the department, adults and paediatric patients, triage, resuscitation, trauma, medical and surgical cases and has worked in busy, large hospital departments (military as well as civilian) in her native South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates. She was recruited for her expertise in emergency medicine to work
in a major project upgrading an emergency department in a public hospital in Sharjah, UAE.


Q: Tell us about your career background, where did you qualify
and where have you previously worked?

Rebecca Phaleni: I qualified as professional nurse in my native South Africa. After qualification
I worked at Elim Hospital, Limpopo Province for 7years, Johannesburg General Hospital (now known
as Charlotte Maxeke Hospital) for 8 years, then proceeded to the Middle East Gulf Region where
I started in the Hijaz, the Western Region of Saudi Arabia at the King Fahad/ Faisal Military Hospital
​and stayed for 3 years. 

After Saudi Arabia, I moved to finally UAE working at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City Hospital in Abu Dhabi for 12 years in a senior nursing role in the busy Emergency Department. After being made redundant recently, I have a new role at Al Qasim Hospital in Sharjah UAE where I am Charge Nurse in the Emergency Department working in a project to make this a top level JCI accredited department.

LIVING IN THE UAE

Q: Why did you initially decide to move to the UAE?

Rebecca Phaleni: I chose to work in this area for better financial remuneration, as many people do and for career development, working in senior roles in various settings.
 
Q: What sort of person is suited to a move to the country?

Rebecca Phaleni: To be in the Middle East you need to at least have degree qualification in nursing. This is a new rule introduced this year. For emergency department nurses, life support courses
are mandatory, especially BLS.

Q: What challenges do you face on a day-to-day basis, and how do these differ to those you faced elsewhere?

Rebecca Phaleni: The language barrier is an issue in emergency departments because the majority
of patients who attend the public hospital emergency departments in the UAE are construction workers who cannot speak English and usually speak only Hindi, Urdu or regional languages of
the Indian subcontinent. Patience is essential. Otherwise working conditions are excellent.
 
Most food is imported from other countries so often expensive and not so fresh.

The lifestyle in the UAE is similar to that of western countries and it is easy to adapt after arrival.
Saudi Arabia, however, is very different; the culture is very tough and needs to be followed strictly which is restrictive.

Q: What advice would you give to a candidate thinking of working in the UAE?

Rebecca Phaleni: Be ready to change your life style and miss your family for a while,
but the network is available to communicate thus makes life a bit easy.

RECRUITMENT PROCESS 

Q: Tell us about your recruitment journey with Odyssey. How was your experience? 

Rebecca Phaleni: Recruitment with Odyssey has been amazingly fast. I never expected to receive the good news of an interview and job offer on the same day I applied for a job! Recruitment can move slowly in the UAE and it often takes weeks just to get a job interview. However, Odyssey co-ordinated the process very effectively and got me a good job offer, which of course, I accepted.

After my swift offer of employment and acceptance, I started work within just 3 weeks, transferring
my license with HAAD to MOH and visa sponsorship to my new employer. With Odyssey, you can do everything online within a wink of an eye, which is great if you don’t have access to a printer and scanner.


FURTHER INFORMATION

Search for nursing roles in the UAE
Read more about the UAE and working in the UAE in our blog and UAE country page


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