Nature and freedom; welcome to Sweden!
Do you speak Swedish?
One month to acclimatize: isn’t that too short? Not for Sarah, who quit her job much earlier, in December 2019. “After that I only worked shifts at the GP post. This gave me a lot of time during the day to learn Swedish with my children. And that went better than expected! ”, Says Sarah. Sarah had Swedish lessons three times a week via Skype. “These lessons have given me a reasonable command of the Swedish language in eight months. I did not know the language at all, but many words resemble Dutch. Especially when reading a text. Only later, when I was a few levels further and got more difficult grammar, it got spicier. ”
Still in the Netherlands, Sarah could not arrange much else. “For this you need a personal number, comparable to the Dutch citizen service number, but this procedure takes a while. Recently arrived in Sweden, I was able to apply for the personal number. I ended up getting this number at the beginning of August. Then we immediately applied for the personal numbers for my husband and children, but by mid-September we still did not receive them. ” What you can apply for before the start is permission to work in Sweden. For this you must send all your papers, diplomas and statements from the government.
Culture shock or not?
Sarah works in a general practice in the south of Sweden. When asked whether there is a difference between working in the Netherlands and Sweden, Sarah nods wholeheartedly ‘yes’. “Here I really have time for the people. There is no production work involved. I can decide for myself how long I spend with a patient. Together with my team nurse, I determine how much time I plan per patient, including administration. This way I have plenty of time to go through everything with someone in peace. ” Sarah therefore plans her day herself.
In the Netherlands we know the doctor’s assistant, who takes care of a lot of the work. This is slightly different in Sweden. “There are several secretaries here who take care of the administrative part. The doctor’s assistants often do smaller things such as blood tests and changing dressings. In addition, specialized nurses are also walking around here. They are comparable to the practice nurses and have their own consultation hours. ”
The cooperation between colleagues, on the other hand, is almost the same as in the Netherlands. “I work in a close-knit team. We have a lot of consultation and this works well. Every day a different doctor is scheduled for the acute consultation hour. During this consultation hour people are scheduled who cannot wait a day longer. This way of working is very nice. ”
“It is a pity that we do not pay much visitors here. All patients simply come to the practice. That is very good, but sometimes it is also nice to have a look at the people at home. Whether this is also the case with other practices in Sweden, I cannot say with certainty. ”
You will be found!
In Sweden there is a significant shortage of GPs. Sarah didn’t look for a practice herself, they found her! “I had agreed with BKV’s cooperation partner to go to Sweden for a few days in October 2019 to see a number of regions. Because of the distances, I didn’t want to be higher than Stockholm. The practice where I now work immediately indicated that it was interested in me. And during the first visit, I felt an enormous click. I didn’t want to look any further, because this was it! ”
The practice where Sarah works is located in the smallest province there is. “I live near the sea and the forest. There are lakes, animals and woods everywhere. The distances between the villages and towns are small here, so everything is easy to drive. In addition, this region is located all the way on the southeast coast, which means that there is a lot of sun in this area. ”
Tips & Tricks
One last tip from experience expert Sarah: “It is really important to start applying for your doctor’s and specialization ID and your personal number on time. You will get nowhere without these documents. I also recommend that you start learning the Swedish language on time. If you speak a nice word of Swedish, this is very much appreciated. The younger generation speaks excellent English, but the older generation does not. ”
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