Embracing Opportunities and Developing Your Professional Toolbox

Thanks first of all to @AHPScot and @DebbieProvanRD for encouraging me to write a blog for @AHPScot on my experiences in Qatar where I worked for 3 ½ years.

I left my post as AHP National Lead for Children & Young People in October 2014  to start a new life and work adventure in Qatar in the Middle East. Prior to starting this blog I took a trip down memory lane and re-read the blogs I had written in my early days in Qatar (AHP Abroad Part 1 and AHP Abroad Part 2). It was great reminiscing but was also amazing to reflect upon the rest of my time in Qatar working @SidraMedicine.

Sidra Medicine


In that time @SidraMedicine transitioned from a greenfield women and children’s hospital site to a state of the art open facility. It was fantastic to be involved in such a huge project and to work with professionals from all across the world, all of whom wanted to see the hospital open and providing the best possible care for women and children in Qatar, and further afield.

Team.pngFiona and I from SPMO with the Obstetrics team after first delivery in the hospital!

I was very fortunate to be able to be at the very heart of this when I moved from an AHP specific role into the Strategic Programme Management Office (SPMO), laterally as the Senior Project Manager. During that time the SPMO was responsible for taking the lead in the commissioning of the Out-patient facility on May 1st 2016 and then the In-patient facility on January 14th 2018. The SPMO team was a mixture not only of nationalities but of expertise; some of us were clinical staff and some were project management. Together they made an incredibly enthusiastic, committed and hard-working team and I am so glad I had the opportunity to work with them.

Team 2SPMO Teamwork makes the Dream work  

What did we do?

For us, the commissioning of Sidra included providing the assurance to the Executive Team, for everything from building readiness, through equipment readiness to people readiness, that we were safe to open. In the outpatient setting this included 50+ clinics, 400 in-patient beds and staff from almost 100 different countries.

As an SPMO we worked with everyone e.g. patient facing clinical and non-clinical staff, managers, executive team, planners, procurement, catering, sterile processing, biomedical engineering, education, simulation to list just a few…. to ensure that the right systems and processes were in place to ensure the right care was able to be provided for our patients and their families.

Each component part had a project plan which then aggregated up to our Master Schedule which was the vehicle to provide direction and assurance that Sidra was ready to “go-live”. In addition, immediately prior to clinics and then the hospital opening the SPMO also established and ran an Activation Command Centre to identify and act upon any issues that arose in that period. Although at times this could be challenging, it was a fantastic opportunity to be able to lead and support all aspects of establishing a brand new hospital. 

What skills were needed?

Although my role was not a clinical one, many of the skills that I developed as an AHP were critical to my success, and the success of the team e.g.

  • Communication skills
  • Working as a multi-disciplinary team member
  • Ability to prioritise
  • Planning
  • Leadership
  • Understanding the importance of education/training

However, my clinical knowledge and experience was possibly an even more important attribute than I would have envisaged. The clinical credibility with, for example senior medical staff, allowed me to challenge processes and make suggestions which were often acted upon. I was able to put  “my clinical hat” on when looking at clinical pathways, IT systems, layout etc., and I was able to provide advice which definitely added value. Due to the diversity of nationalities represented across Sidra, understanding the difference in clinical models between primarily the USA and UK/Australia/New Zealand, was imperative to support the development of an orientation programme for all staff which ensured patient safety.

I hope this blog gives you a little insight into my adventures in Qatar and an experience I will never forget personally and professionally. I now have a network of friends and professionals across the globe, I have travelled to places I may never have had the opportunity and I added skills, opportunities and expertise to my own “professional toolbox”. If anyone reading this is thinking of trying something out with their typical profession – do it – you never know what opportunities are there for you!

Finally I would like to take this opportunity to particularly thank my SPMO team for their commitment, hard work, fun, laughter and comradeship through an exciting though complex time, and my husband for supporting me in this adventure 😊


Written by: Jane Reid @JaneRahpl


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