45 Minutes with our Topnotch Nurse Educators from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Being a nurse educator goes beyond the norms of dong bedside care and patient interaction. It is a unique task that demands creativity, patience, and initiative. To teach another person – let alone a person who can become a future nurse – is a tremendous responsibility that is courageously conquered every day by these three Filipino nurse educators in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Let us meet Jordan Salvador, RN, PhD, Joel Patalagsa, RN, PhD and Lamberto “Jun” Valera, RN, EdD and ponder on the snippets of their professional lives as nurse educators in the land of sand dunes and majestic deserts.

Jordan received his Ph.D (Social Development) degree at Philippine Women University and Joel's Ph.D in Nursing degree at the University of St. La Salle. While Jun obtained his doctorate at the National University. All three are members of the Beta Nu Delta Nursing Society.


1. Can you tell us about the work you do in your university?


JP: My work is focused on teaching and doing research-related activities. I teach Culture Diversity, Primary Health Care, Communication in Nursing, Leadership and Management in Nursing, Nursing Research, Community Health Nursing, and Psychiatric Nursing courses to male Saudi Arabian undergraduate students. I also teach Nursing Research in the Master’s program. Recently, I was appointed to teach undergraduate courses in Infection Control, General Pathophysiology, and Teaching and Learning Strategies. Basically, I receive teaching loads from the university administration and they are the ones who will assign the courses to me. The other part of my work involves editing and revising manuscripts for publication and providing research advising and research-related tutorials.  The academic preparation and teaching experiences that I gained provided me a framework to manage my research and academic functions in the university.

JS: I am currently working at the University of Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (UoD) formerly known as the King Faisal University. It is the top-leading university in Eastern Province of Dammam. I joined the male College of Nursing faculty last August 2014. As a faculty of nursing, my work in the university focuses on giving lectures and demonstrations to local students. There are times when I do follow-ups in hospitals like King Fahad Hospital of the University and Dammam Central Hospital that are affiliated to our university. Clinical training and development of the department is also one of my responsibilities to prepare the faculty and students for Critical Care Nursing. For my administrative work, I am responsible for the Total Quality Management of the college of nursing which is necessary for the implementation of the National Commission for Academic Accreditation and Assessment (NCAA). This is a renowned school accreditation facility in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is also my obligation as the Fourth Year Adviser to monitor students for their academic status and evaluate if they are qualified for graduation. With all of these tasks and responsibilities, I feel so honored and blessed to be employed here at University of Dammam. In addition to this, I am also privileged enough to work with renowned nursing leaders from Jordan, India, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

LF: I work in my full capacity as the Assistant Professor with the following specific functions: conducting theoretical lectures about Pediatric, Maternity, Community Health, Research, and Health Education, advising students on their academic loads, coordinating for quality assurance of the Male Side Departmentof Maternity, Child, and Community Health Nursing, and conducting seminars/ talks for faculty development.  I was also recently appointed as the Nursing Program Coordinator and now responsible for the preparation of Program Specifications, Reports, Development & Strategic Plans of the College. I was also given the opportunity to be an expert panel of the Ministry of Higher Education Scientific Research Committee.

2. What is your general impression of the Filipino nurses in Saudi Arabia?


JP: I consider Filipino nurses here in Saudi Arabia as the “gold standard” in providing nursing care. The Filipino nurses’ dedication and commitment to provide “Pinoy” style of nursing care is by far the most superior. This claim is supported by the positive feedbacks that I receive first hand from administrators who have diverse cultural backgrounds. They would express their preference for Filipino nurses to be in their health teams. Patients in Saudi, whom I had the chance to interact with, also express their positive biases towards Filipino nurses. Even nursing students and nursing interns in Saudi would attest to the superb satisfaction on the way they are mentored by Filipino nurses in the clinical practice setting.

JS: Filipino nurses are the best. Filipino nurses are among the most competent and hard working employees in hospitals and other healthcare settings. They could easily adapt, adjust, and cope with the multi-cultural differences presented in their respective working areas. In fact, majority of the staff nurses in the hospital in Dammam are Filipinos. Some are already unit managers, supervisors, and even head of the department. Saudi locals respect and trust Filipino nurses because they know that they are competent and caring. These are evidences that Filipino nurses are globally competitive and prepared for any challenge given to them. Nurses are not only here to look for greener pastures but are also here to gain lived experiences that molds them into better individuals. Even though we are faced with so many struggles, we tend to rise above the challenges because of the love and dedication (that is inherent in us) we have for the nursing profession.

LF: Filipino nurses in Saudi Arabia are generally treated with respect and with high regards. Numerous studies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have supported the idea that Pinoy nurses are competent, trustworthy, and hard working.  Filipinos abroad, regardless of their occupation or line of work, are highly motivated, with overwhelming patience  and these special traits were fueled continuously with the great desire to help their family back home.

3. Do you have any advice for other Filipino nurses who are interested to work as nursing academicians in Saudi Arabia?

JS: My advice to nurses who want to work in KSA as nursing educators is this: equip yourselves with experiences both in clinical and academic settings because these experiences would lead you to achieving greater success. Continuing education is very important when it comes to the hiring and selection process. Once you are selected and given a job, prepare yourself emotionally, physically, morally, and spiritually for all the possibilities that could happen. There’s no turning back once you are here. This opportunity would be your ticket to success. Lastly, financial gains should not always be an individual’s major reason to work abroad. The love for the nursing profession should always be your guiding principle because in the end, these experiences would determine your personal success. Hopefully, one day we can share all the things we have learned from these experiences to the future nurses who I believe would be the hope of the future nursing generation. Working abroad seems easy as a concept, but living as an overseas Filipino worker every day is a different story. Establishing your personal vision, missions, and goals will be effective platforms for your nursing career. Dream big and aim high!

LF: An intact personal value system is a “must-have” for every nurse educators seeking for better opportunities in Saudi Arabia. Among the Middle East countries, only Saudi Arabia remained as the “stringent seat” of Islamic religion. A culture shock is expected to happen when dealing with gender issues, communication patterns, and belief system. But these issues can be remedied if you have a lot of self- respect, patience, honesty, and integrity. Last but not the least, is of course your tremendous faith in God. Life in Saudi is plain and simple, and out of this situation, you have no reason for not knowing and for not building a better relationship with the One who gave you all these opportunities.