DOCTORS JOB IN SWEDEN
If you are a doctor interested in working in Sweden you need a formal recogniton of your professional qualifications.
Being a doctor in Sweden is correlated with a high social position as well as with a high standard of working conditions. Doctors working in public health centres do that using modern equipment and in cooperation with highly qualified personnel.
One of the characteristics would be work in small teams or units, in which nurses with specific skills are doctors' important helpers. Computer system, which functions accurately and well, is very supportive in mastering all the administration procedures. Doctors' working conditions are regulated by special contracts. Working week is 40 hours. Above that there might be night and on-call duties. Salary is determined individually, though between certain financial brackets depending on qualifications and experience. For night and on-call duties a doctor is always paid extra, from 100% to 200% of a normal hour rate. Furthermore, everyone is fully insured, has a right to pension and his family is included in common social security system. The professional liability insurance is paid by the employer - landsting. In Sweden, the initial period of up to six months of work is so called introduction period and is run with help of a more experienced colleague (mentor).
Everyone interested in work in Sweden has to complete a course of Swedish with medical terminology which is organized by Medena Rek Poland. Passing the exam, which is at the end of the course, is an indispensable condition to begin work in Sweden.
If you are a nurse interested in working in Sweden you need a formal recogniton of your professional qualifications.
A full-time job (which means 40 hours per week) is organized according to the work schedule of the hospital ward. It can therefore mean working day, evenings and holidays as well. Nurses in Sweden have an important role and responsibility for the patients' care. Nevertheless, responsibilities are shared between the nurses and nursing assistants on the basis of their competence. There are usually nurses, assistant nurses, medical secretaries, specialist doctors and doctors during their training at the ward. Quite often there can be as well a social worker and psychologist, if necessary.
Professional development is an employer's duty. It is created basing on the needs resulting from the professional duties of a nurse and is a natural part of the work. Everyone from the hospital staff has a personal development plan, determined together with the supervisor.
Darek’s first days in Sweden
- 1. Departure, ferry and custom clearance
We leave for Gdańsk punctually: me, my wife and our three-year-old son. Traveling on Polish roads is always full of thrills, yet, safe and sound, we arrive at the Gdańsk port. The Polish custom clearance took an agreeable course; the customs officer didn't even want to take a look at anything, instead he kept repeating words of jealousy. The ferry journey was uneventful. We arrived in Nynäshamn about midday. It was quite cold and drizzling, but we were in pretty high spirits. The Swedish customs officer, having taken a look at the work and stay permit in our passports, didn't even glance at our car, let alone looking into it.
- 2. Swedish roads, drivers, and the trip to Härnösand
After a brief custom clearance we set off north. We have 500 km before us. With maps on our laps we intensely concentrate on the road, which wasn’t necessary. The Swedish roads are superbly marked. So we put away the maps and start looking at the views outside. The road we were driving was faultless, not a trace of bumps; all were driving smoothly observing the traffic rules. If a sign says "slow down to 50" it means slow down to 50, and you have to get used to this. About 100 km after we left Stockholm winter began, and it stayed so until we reached Harnosand. In Sweden during this time of year, you can't do without winter tires, even better those with spikes. Main roads are very well kept, but the rest are kept only as far as there are no snow drifts and it is feasible to drive them. The rest is up to the driver. Everybody knows that winter comes every year and gets prepared for the harsh conditions.
- 3. Härnösand
It is a small sea town, located half on island, half on land. I was said there lived 10.000 people. There's everything a person needs: a hospital, a theatre, a movie house, a huge modern library, yacht ports, a car and motorbike racetrack, and a lot of places when you can practice different sports (the Swedish adore practicing sports). We arrive in the evening. I know I have to get the keys to our apartment at ER in the hospital. Oh, my Swedish was about to be tested. With prepared sentences in my mind, I enter a doctor's duty-room and with a smile on my face (a smile is very important in Sweden) I utter a loud "good bye" instead of a "good evening." Later everything goes smoothly; after a short talk about Poland and the weather, and after being greeted in Sweden, I receive the keys and go to our first apartment in the new land.
- 4. Apartment
Our apartment is situated in a small block of flats with a brilliant view on the town and the surrounding hills. I feel as if in a holiday resort: the sea, hills, and a ski-lift nearby. Nobody's rushing on the streets at an agonizing speed, everybody's moving slowly, greeting each other from time to time, and smiling. We enter our new apartment, turn on the lights and feel relieved, since we didn't have a chance to see it before! We trusted a town council clerk. Three rooms, about 80m2, a fully equipped kitchen (dish washer, freezer, refrigerator, kitchen furniture, etc.). In the toilet room they have even installed a washing machine (rare in Sweden, where they usually wash in specially designed laundries in the basement). In the middle of the room we can see a huge orchid and a gift basket from the clinic workers. It's very nice and telling of our good reception by the Swedes. We fall asleep immediately; installing our furniture and decorating the apartment is what awaits us tomorrow. About 10 am next morning a doctor from our clinic showed up at our place. He offers us a helping hand and welcomes us to dinner. After a short chat, it is him who stays with us for a meal - a real Polish dinner.
- 5. My first day at work
On Monday at 8 a.m. I begin my work. It takes about ten minutes to get there on foot. I know I can't be late as being late is unacceptable in Sweden. I made it, I am on time. There is again a hearty welcome from all my colleagues and the boss, who says that he is my friend, and not my boss! The stereotype from Poland about sad, reserved and uncommunicative Swedes just collapsed. All the people I have met so far are warm, open and helpful. Sometimes it is even a bit uneasy. Clinic itself is well-equipped with a correctly functioning computer, has consulting rooms for therapies, rehabilitation, laboratory, surgical rooms, pharmacy, a studio for Internet consultations with other specialists, and any other indispensable work stations. Impeccable cleanliness in all nooks and corners makes you want to work.
- 6. Staff
The nurses here are far better qualified than in Poland. They may prescribe medicine, send patients to further examination and rehabilitation. They are of great help to doctors and they do their job excellently. There are five doctors in the clinic. They have from 10 to 15 patients daily. A working day starts with a gathering and a short meeting at 8 o'clock a.m. Then from 8.15 to 9 a.m. doctors have patients. At 9 a.m. there is a breakfast break. From 9.15 to midday doctors have further patients, then a lunch break follows until 1 a.m. At this time all Sweden ceases to work and local restaurants get full. Then work again, telephone consultations, and at 5 p.m. the working day is over. Home visits are practically not existing as almost all of them are performed by nurses.
- 7. Summary
I am happy about our first days in Sweden. Some phenomena we experienced here seem strange to us, sometimes they make us laugh. You should not fight them though. After some time you will observe these strange things are good old methods that work really well. I know that working conditions and work environment here will be far better than in Poland and this is perhaps the most important thing (for me). I will have plenty of free time for my family or hobby. You don't go to Sweden to make money. You come here to find normality, so missing in Poland. And if you also are a nature lover, there's no better place for you in Europe than Scandinavia. The decision to leave is by all means the right one and I hope I will carry on with my belief.
Polish dentists in Sweden
Memories from the course and first impressions of a new country.
- 1. Ala from Kalmar
Confessions of a Polish dentist from the Swedish dental office
Sweden has always seemed to me quite exotic, even though it is situated so close to Poland. I think it was kind of curiosity that let my husband decide to check out the possibilities to move and learn something new.
The company, which has taken the challenge to teach us Swedish and prepare us for the state language exam, Medena Rek Polska, did the job very professionally. Swedish teachers crammed the knowledge into us at such pace and tempo that few people kept up without whining. We all, without any exception, have worked very hard. During eight months we had to understand the grammar rules, learn the ability to write, and, what is even worse speak and communicate. It was hard, but we did it.
Swedish dentistry is modern both in terms of equipment, materials as the methods of treatment. The scope of procedures performed in an ordinary dental clinic, which is called here Folktandvarden (equivalent to our state clinic) is very extensive: prophylaxis since 1 year old, orthodontics, which after all, in Poland in general does not get out of specialist cabinets, treatment of caries , dental surgery, including minor operations, endodontics, modern prosthetics, sometimes combined with implantology. The range depends largely on dentist’s skills. Another difference is in diagnostic radiology, which in Sweden is much more widely used. Each patient examination starts with digital imaging of bitewing, sometimes with the addition of apical, optionally, if necessary, panoramic radiograph. X-rays are a very important part of the documentation.
For people under 19 years old the dental health care is free, but unfortunately after this age it costs a lot. Due to the fact that some of the fees for treatment are paid by public health insurance, documentation (procedures performed, planned treatment) are very carefully controlled. Patients’ medical files are run in the computer system. The organization of work is different from that in Poland for another reason. Those are skills of the mid-personnel. Nurses in Sweden often perform a significant part of simple procedures, which in Poland usually burden the doctor. Time of a doctor here is appreciated, that is why he/she performs only those procedures that requires his or her skills. Dental hygienists for example are graduates and independent workers, who take full responsibility for their actions. They work mainly with prophylaxis and hygiene (e.g., professional teeth cleaning, examination of patients, instructing adults and children). The staff is well trained and so the doctor can work even in two or three offices simultaneously. As a result we have significant increase of work. This requires of course team working, responsibility of every member and, above all, assessment of professional skills of the staff done by a doctor. The overall responsibility lies on the dentist.
Dentist full time week is 40 hours, Monday to Friday, excluding Saturdays and evenings. The work is intense and certainly not easy, but when we go out the clinic door, we do not need to think about it, worry about the patients, economic affairs, and procurement of materials. The only thing that you can worry about is raising your qualifications. Is working in a foreign country easy? Of course not, but it gives a lot of self-assurance and valuable experience. Swedes are nice and polite, though quite slow in action (we like to have everything for yesterday, they need it in a week), which make them calm and balanced. At the start they were watching us, but as soon as they are convinced they bestow us with trust and even affection.
- 2. Agata
MY GREAT ADVENTURE WITH MEDENA
At the beginning I did a computer course, then, every now and then I had different trainings along with doctors, who have just completed their studies. Everything goes well at work, staff helps me to get to know the local customs. I did not expect such a caring reception, really! On the first day at work they ordered the materials to which I was accustomed in Poland (I accidentally said what I have been used to work with). Apartment is great. I think I have the most of the official matters over me. I was waiting for the personnummer around two weeks. If it comes to language it is also good – I get a lot of help from assistance staff and patients are understanding and helpful as well. All thanks to the teachers! I hadn’t believed at the beginning of the course, that after just six months, I would be able to talk in Swedish about all the most basic things. Once again, many thanks and greetings to whole Medena!
- 3. Sebastian from Strömsund
MY GREAT ADVENTURE WITH MEDENA
It all started with an advertisements on the Internet: "We are looking for dentists to work in Sweden." I filled in the online form and waited. The answer came really quickly – I was invited for a placement test and trial lesson of the Swedish language.
The first meeting with the language was shocking. I thought – how come that this "gibberish" can be learned in six months, but already after a few hours we all started to understand the teachers. It was amazing, one day of learning was able to provide vocabulary to present yourself, say a few words about work or family. A few days after that I have received a wonderful information on the phone that I am at the next stage of recruitment, and with a group of doctors I am going to Sweden for interview. The landsting was Jämtland. Quick check up on the Internet – it is beautiful: nature, lakes, mountains, I have to go. We gathered at the airport in Warsaw and we were introduced to each other very quickly.
We got there after a few hours flight and I was positively surprised that it is not so far away. The next day, the Swedish employer drove us to town where we were supposed to work. Along the way, I could admire forests and trees covered with snow, tourists traveling on snow scooters, a true winter with just minus three degrees. I was enchanted. Clinic in Strömsund (15,000 inhabitants) is at the highest level: five dental offices, each with X-ray, computer, modern chair, working for four hands with well trained personnel, all planned out. After returning to Poland I was eager to get an answer.
On Wednesday afternoon I got en e-mail: You are invited for the language course on 01.03.2005 in Konstancin Jeziorna. First day of "school" was exhausting. After five hours of classes I did not know what was going on around me. Day by day, however, I was getting better. Each day was filled with classes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a lunch break. Sometimes there were Swedish film screenings or compulsory exercises in the pronunciation studio, we were literally surrounded by Sweden. The intensity of classes combined with the professionalism of teachers surprised us. After a week, I knew that I was really able to learn Swedish in just six months.
Over the next days and months it was getting better and better. In the middle of the course there came up a new challenge: travel to Sweden with our families. This time I was even more delighted with the place: summer, 28 degrees Celsius, warm water in the lake, the smell of the forest everywhere. Many would be surprised with the organizational level of Swedes: a visit to the school, kindergarten, labour office, seeing apartments and houses, a visit to the clinic. All buttoned up, but at the same time without rushing (lagom), with time for a fika - a mandatory coffee break, always included in the working time. I do not even know when the next three months after returning back to Konstancin passed. Intensive learning combined with the constant inculcation and implanting in our brains direct knowledge on Sweden made us undetectably fluent Swedish language users. Last month of hard work, also related to the increased e-mail exchange with employers regarding apartment, car and other details was ended with a two-day exam.
After returning home, I noticed that I miss school in Konstancin, classes, teachers and classmates. It was necessary, however, to summon quickly and start to close last issues in offices, banks, with a moving company. Boxes, boxes, cartons, boxes, and some more boxes were in my dreams day and night. Last farewell to friends and family in an empty apartment and we set off.
In Strömsund I found that unpacking is even worse. I was surprised but also pleased by the welcome. So much is said about them being effusive in their feelings, but I had to hug with everyone in the clinic. All proposed also help with unpacking and moving in. We were given lamps, chandeliers, chairs, curtains. The next day, together with the head of the clinic we started to get things official. The first and foremost is the obligatory visit to Skattemyndighet, tax office. You cannot function in Sweden without the so-called personnummer. Next was a visit to the bank. Here, too, quickly and professionally: to create an account and ATM card issue took 45 minutes with a tour around the bank including treasury. Another walk through the town to the office of child care in order to determine the introductory visits with my child in the nursery. The clerk explained functioning of the system of kindergartens in Sweden. The first two or three weeks a child comes to the kindergarten with parents, so it can feel confident. Children go for a walk every day, have trips to the forest, and the toddlers sleep in their trolleys if necessary, also outside. Everything went smoothly and quickly. Next visit was to see other options. With a colleague - Ali we went to the library, pool, gym, and sauna. And here also a pleasant surprise, because it turned out that everything is free (it is in Landsting Jämtland).
Prices may scare a bit at the beginning especially if you start to convert everything into your currency. Food is more expensive than what I was used to back home (though not all), while the chemical products, household appliances and others are in similar prices. Many stores has special cards for savings so that way it becomes cheaper. The first day in the clinic I passed mostly on signing the documents, planning the working schedule etc. A day in our clinic starts at 7 and ends at 4 p.m., but includes lunch break. On Fridays we finish at 1 p.m. Everyone has the right to physical activity hours included in working hours. Every doctor has their own office. Each office is equipped with x-ray, modern armchair, materials, and tools. I have been asked to review the office equipment and write down anything that I would like to have and lack here so I will enjoy my work. At the same time you get the clothes and a receipt for glasses, if you need them at work.
The first patient is an obvious stress. However, having at my disposal and for help a nurse and a hygienist - everything went smoothly. You get each tool directly to the hand, most of the things that need to be written in the computer system is done by them as well, if there are some words that you missed during the examination of the patient – you get help as well. Working in a team with qualified staff certainly makes it easier to carry out and saves time. I didn’t have that in Poland. For the past nine months a lot happened in my life. One can feel really tired after such a race with course, language, and relocation. Here, everything slowed down. Nobody is in a hurry. I have time for my family and for myself, I am pleased with the work. The people I work with are extremely nice and helpful. From time to time, in the evening light there comes nostalgia for my homeland, my parents, but, well, here at least I live normally.
Come to Sweden