Sidra Medical and Research Center Sees Its 1st Patient!


Blog post by SimGHOSTS MEA Officer Valen Anderson

Sidra Medical and Research Center Sees Its 1st Patient! (And a reflection on my Sidra Simulation experience)

Almost two years ago I was recruited for a Simulation Technologist position at Sidra Medical and Research Center. After accepting the offered position in July 2014, and enduring the process of obtaining a work visa my husband, I arrived in Qatar in February 2015. It is hard to believe that was fifteen months ago!

My biggest shock when arriving at Sidra was the size of the Simulation Team I was joining. Having come from a Simulation Center in Evanston, Illinois that was lucky to have two Sim Techs I was very surprised to join a Sim Team that had eight Simulation Technologists and five Simulation Specialists. I am sure you, as I did, might wonder what the difference is between the two.. Here at Sidra, a Simulation Specialist has both a clinical background (ie. a Midwife or a Respiratory Therapy Trainer) and an educational background (ie. a Respiratory Therapy Trainer); however it was not required, or even that common, that they have a background in Simulation Technology. Hence, the role of the Simulation Technologist.

Although some of the Sim Techs on our team have clinical backgrounds (ie. Nurse, Anesthesia Tech, etc.), their role is differentiated by the fact that they have experience and proficiency in applied Simulation Technology, such as engineering/electronics, IT, moulage, theatre studies, logistics etc. In addition to the Sim Techs and Sim Specialists the Sim Team also had a Director of Simulation, an Operations Manager, a Life Support Coordinator, and two Administrative Assistants. When I started in February 2015 the Sidra Sim Team consisted of eighteen people. But today the Sim Team consists of a Director, an Operations Manager, a Life Support Coordinator, four Simulation Technologists, two Simulation Specialists, and one Administrative Assistant – equaling ten in total.

Let me explain why: Working as an expat, especially so in the Middle East, there is an ever changing, cyclical, turnover of staff. Some people decide to stay until they reach a fixed monetary or education goal. Some soon realize that they do not enjoy the work experience, or that they and their families have difficulty adapting to a new culture, and leave after a very short period. Whilst others welcome their changed circumstances and commit for many years. This constant cycle of staff coming-and-going has been accelerated recently by the worldwide drop in oil prices and Sidra’s realization that there were a number of staff recruited to areas and services that might not see patients in the near future; hence the contraction of our Team numbers.


The first patient at Sidra Medical and Research Center with CEO – Peter Morris

​But today, fifteen months after I first arrived, Sidra is seeing its first patients. May 1st 2016 was a highly anticipated and much needed day for Sidra Medical and Research Center, its staff, and for the people of Qatar. Towards this auspicious opening the Sim Team has been heavily involved in providing support for clinical orientation, patient work flows, systems testing, Electronic Medical Records and much more. It has been an incredible experience; as facilitating the opening of a Greenfield Hospital, and within it a brand new Simulation Center, is what I came all this way to do. We are currently in a temporary Simulation space, but are scheduled to move into our new Simulation Center in December 2016. Hopefully we won’t experience too many delays, or suffer any more losses to our team. On the contrary, we are likely to be recruiting more staff as the hospital grows and we get closer to opening the permanent Simulation Center. So watch this space!