A Day in the Life of a CE: Abeer Arab

This is the first in a monthly series, where we profile a Clinician Educator.  Jamiu Busari and Hiroshi Nishgori will profile CEs from around the world.  Do you have a colleague that you want to nominate for a profile?  Drop us a line! (icenet@royalcollege.ca)

–  Jonathan (@sherbino)


By Jamiu Busari (@jobusar)

Abeer A Arab (@Draaarab
Pediatric Anesthesiologist
Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care
Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Abeer’s early years

While in primary school, Dr. Abeer Arab, MBBS, FRCPC, hated being told what to like/dislike – spurring a promise to follow a career that she loved. Following a year of residency at KAU, Abeer obtained a scholarship to pursue a formal residency in anesthesia at the University of Ottawa. She spent a total of seven years in Canada: five  years doing her residency and, following board certification in 2008, she spend another two years on her fellowship, which was split between a year of pediatric anesthesia at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and a year in clinical simulation at the University of Ottawa.   Abeer returned to Saudi Arabia in 2010 where she works as an assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care at KAU.

When asked whether she planned doing a combined fellowship from the onset, Abeer responds, “I always thought I was going to be a pure pediatric anesthesiologist, a pure clinician… but during my residency I felt that there was something else and beyond what I could do. Although many people were interested in medical education in SA, we had nobody who was specialized in simulation. Therefore I decided to apply for a fellowship in simulation in Toronto, which I later completed in Ottawa… I decided to choose a non-clinical fellowship because I wanted to color my career later on.  What I did not imagine, however, was that the second color would overshadow the first one”.

A variety of roles

Abeer’s area of expertise is in debriefing teams and crisis resource management in Anesthesia and Critical Care. After three and a half years as the program director for anesthesia, Abeer stepped down to take on a new position with the Saudi board of Anesthesiology, where she coordinates the national implementation and evaluation of simulation in postgraduate anesthesia training. This was a huge step for her and she had to talk herself into it, “I am actually helping more patients if I [can help] develop better doctors”.

Abeer is also an active teacher of undergraduate and postgraduate students, deputy director of academic affairs of the clinical skills and simulation center and chair/co-founder of a patient safety-training module in the undergraduate medical curriculum.

A delicate balance

When asked how much time she devotes to her various activities, Abeer responds that the percentages are never stable.  She finds it difficult to split teaching and clinical activities, as the former tends to occur simultaneously during clinical work.  Nonetheless, she estimates she spends 40% of her time involves patient care, 40% teaching, 10%  education/research activities and 10% administration – the latter related to education programs she directs. The part she enjoys the least is administration.

Abeer continues to remind herself that life is like pie chart requiring a good balance between her personal, social and professional life.

Parting advice

In order to combine education scholarship and clinical practice successfully as a CE, Abeer believes you need mentorship, mentorship and mentorship. She reinforces the importance of these relationships, saying, “When I sit with medical students and listen to their dreams, hopes and expectations and see their power of giving, it refreshes my thoughts and gives me energy to generate new ideas and do more things. When I sit with my professors and listen to their wisdom it helps me direct my thoughts and keeps me grounded to execute my plans with patience. ”