A passion for helping others runs in Roisin Dooley’s family—her mother, two sisters and brother all went into nursing as well. After high school, Roisin decided to go into the “family business” herself, and she started out as a staff nurse in the surgical unit of her hometown’s hospital, St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital in St. John’s, Newfoundland. From there, she worked in a variety of areas of nursing—from medical/surgical to the intensive care unit (ICU). In the mid-1990s, she followed her sister around the world to King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The call of adventure
Roisin admits that it was the adventure that appealed to the native Newfoundlander originally. “At the time, Saudi hospitals were recruiting Westerners heavily so it wasn’t hard to get a job there,” says Roisin. She spent six years as a charge nurse for the medical/surgical adult ICU in a tertiary care center, occasionally floating to the neonatal and pediatric ICU. In 1999, she returned to Canada, working at several hospitals in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, returned to King Faisal for a few years, then worked all around Canada.
Opportunity came knocking
As Roisin nears retirement age, the pull to return to Saudi Arabia was strong for several reasons. “Your earnings in Saudi Arabia are tax free, and I’ve always liked the work there,” she says. In 2012, Roisin accepted a position at King Fahad Specialist Hospital as the nurse manager of the organ transplant center. Her sister, Anne Marie—who has worked at King Fahad since 2007—is the director of medicine, neurosciences, ambulatory care nursing.
When King Fahad opened a brand new pediatric ICU, they asked Roisin to run it. Within a year, she also took over general pediatrics. “This is a premier hospital in the Middle East, and a great learning environment,” she says. “It’s unpredictable and dynamic. You never know what type of patient might come in the door.”
Securing her future
Roisin’s RN had always been sufficient for her to secure positions at King Faisal and King Fahad—but recently, her organization made it a requirement for newly hired nurses to hold at least a bachelor’s degree. “They changed their rules about a year and a half before I returned to Saudi Arabia, so I started looking into degree programs,” she says. The ability to earn her education online was also important.
Yet again, Roisin was influenced by a family member—her sister was a Doctor of Nursing Practice Executive Leadership student at American Sentinel. Roisin liked what she learned about the university and started the MSN, organizational leadership specialization, in 2013. “Being a student again takes discipline, but I feel that American Sentinel is a great place for working professionals,” she says. “The program has been a great refresher for the things I already know and I’m getting up to date on things like evidence-based practice.”
A new opportunity
In October 2015, Roisin was offered a management position overseeing the emergency unit at King Fahad. Her experience made her a great candidate, but so did the MSN, which she’ll complete in July. “I know that I couldn’t receive this job without an MSN,” Roisin says.
The credentials will also position Roisin for a bright future, no matter what comes her way. “If I return to Canada and decide to continue working there, I know that having the MSN will make me more marketable,” she says. “Right now, I’m very excited about my new job and finishing my degree. There’s definitely a great sense of pride that goes along with both.”
Inspired by Roisin’s story? An MSN program can be your passport to a specialty nursing field, like nursing education, informatics, nursing management and organizational leadership, or infection control. Specialized knowledge forms the foundation of these nursing fields. When you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes.