Academic journal article ABNF Journal

INTERNATIONAL NURSING DEPARTMENT: An Up Close and Personal Look at Saudi Arabia (Jeddah and Riyadh): History, Culture, and Health Care

Academic journal article ABNF Journal

INTERNATIONAL NURSING DEPARTMENT: An Up Close and Personal Look at Saudi Arabia (Jeddah and Riyadh): History, Culture, and Health Care

Article excerpt

Abstract: Saudi Arabia was one of the greatest travel destinations that I have had the opportunity to experience. I made this pilgrimage to Jeddah and Riyadh, and was truly welcomed into the kingdom. After almost three years of caring for those precious gems (the five surviving babies of the famous Saudi Arabian Septuplets) born July 2001 in the Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC, I was issued a visa and asked to serve as the Nurse Escort in taking these babies home. Through a detailed glimpse of everyday life, I was privileged to enter an arena of not only forming lifelong friendships, but exploring how a country so difficult to gain entry, is also a land of astonishing natural beauty. A visit to that famous King Faisal Hospital made me a believer that Saudi Arabia has one of the best medical facilities in the Middle East, with well-trained nurses and physicians, who many are from other countries, including the United States. Observing health care professionals providing competent nursing and medical care in that environment was unique, because it evolved a culture based on an amalgam of religion and politics.

Key Words: Saudi Arabia, Jeddah, Riyadh, History, Empty Quarter, Culture, Health Care

Throughout history, the progress of mankind has always been the result of individuals traveling from one place to the other. During such travel, great ideas were created in anticipation of assisting in the shaping of the future. Many individuals were instrumental in improving the quality of life by advances made in medicine, nursing and science. Some advances now serve as a vital link between local regions and the rest of the world. My visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was a walk through such a place that was formerly the heart of a great Arab empire. Arabia was once a forbidden kingdom of legend, a land worth visiting because it was so unknown. Saudi Arabia has a history of serving the Arabian Peninsula with not only wealth from oil, but it is the home to the lucrative and legendary trade in frankincense and myrrh.

Saudi Arabia has the largest onshore oil field in the world, located in al-Ghawar in Eastern Saudi Arabia, and the world's largest offshore field in as-Saffaniyah, near Kuwait. In 1933, Saudi Arabia signed its first oil concession and four years later joined the Standard oil Company of California (SOCAL). Operating as the Arabian American oil Company (ARAMCO), this company discovered oil in commercial quantities near Riyadh and other areas in the east. The first oil tanker carrying Saudi oil left for its journey around the world in 1939. This economic avenue in Saudi Arabia helped to transform the desert Kingdom from a poor political risk to one of the most sought after allies in the entire world.

Trouble in the oil industry has been well documented. In 1974, Saudi Arabia imposed an oil embargo on the United States because of America's support to the State of Israel. Such action made the world oil prices double twice in a short period of time. This movement serves as a reminder to the world, that Saudi Arabia is a major player in a world where the economy depends on oil from their particular region.

Saudi Arabia has the largest reserves of petroleum in the world, and is the largest exporter of petroleum doing business with world class associated industries, with an employment of approximately 4 million foreign workers. Petroleum accounts for 75 percent of budget revenue, 35 percent of gross domestic product, and 90 percent of export earnings. Also contributing to the national income are the 2 million pilgrims who come to visit Mecca each year. The present form of government is the Monarchy, but an advisory Consultative Council is also used in making decisions. Riyadh is the capital city and has an area of 1,960,582 sq. km (756,981 sq. miles). The projected people population for 2005 is about 26,336,476 with life expectancy being only 70.6 years. Infant mortality per 1000 births is 38. …

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