• Sweden edition
 
Hundreds of great job opportunities for foreign professionals at Sweden's top employers - in cooperation with Monster, Experteer, Stepstone, and CareerBuilder.
What
Where
746
jobs available
Find English-speaking professionals with The Local.
Advertise a vacancy
My Swedish Career
'What? Swedish doctors wear shorts to work?'
Sandeep Jha. Photo: Private

'What? Swedish doctors wear shorts to work?'

Published: 04 Mar 2014 10:01 CET

Sandeep Jha was studying in Saint Petersburg when he met and fell in love with a Swedish girl, Josefin. He first travelled to Sweden in 2006 on a tourist visa, when he got the opportunity to shadow a doctor at a hospital in Uddevalla, north of Gothenburg, for a few months.

While Jha had already done a one-year practical internship as part of his six-year Russian degree, he found out that if he wanted to stay and work in Sweden, he would have to do it all again - for almost two more years.

Though he faced what the Swedes call "general duty" (allmän tjänstgöring, or AT) as an intern, Jha chose to stay on in Sweden. And despite the mounds of paperwork - for example, sending his Russian grades, degree, and licence to practice to the National Health and Welfare Board (Socialstyrelen) - Jha says that going home to India with a foreign degree would have been ten times worse. 

"Moving to Sweden was no-brainer as a young medical student but I soon realized that Sweden is no alien to bureaucracy," Jha says. "Sweden is a country with pretty packaging with loose bits inside but what makes Sweden different is that all those loose bits can be fixed via email and telephone."

While he had pondered moving to the US to practice there, he said the lack of hierarchy at the Swedish workplace was a big draw.

So casual is the Swedish workplace, that one morning on Skype with his father he was met with paternal disbelief at his attire.

"He thought my shorts and sweatshirt were strange to say the least;” Jha recalls. “He expected well-ironed trousers, a shirt and probably a tie. Oh yeah, and he often remarks that I don’t have reading glasses, which, for him, is strange for a medical doctor.”

To get as far as the hospital floor, however, Jha had to jump through a neat set of hurdles, which he summarized thus:

1) Start by applying for an assessment of foreign training

2) Prove you speak Swedish

3) Pass the medical knowledge test – a theory part and a practical part

4) Survive your allmän tjänstgöring (AT) internship (a minimum of 18 months) when you rotate between departments

5) Study and pass a test on Swedish medical legislation

READ ALSO: The National Health and Welfare Board information to non-EU doctors on how to obtain the licence to practice

And then finally, the holy grail, apply for your licence to practice. 

With financial support from his father, some work as a freelance medical writer, extra work as a carpenter ("the best job ever"), and filling in as a consultant for his girlfriend's father's company, Jha managed to make a living during the process, which in the end took a year and a half.

Then, finally, he was ready to start his paid AT internship at Mora Hospital in central Sweden. He was able to find the internship by continuously clicking into different jobs sites and visiting different hospitals for vacancies.

"All the hospitals in Sweden recruit students twice a year, once in March and again in September," Jha tells The Local.

There, in the middle of the dense central Sweden pine forest, he met his mentor. On rotation through the different departments of the hospital, he came under the tutelage of another immigrant doctor, a cardiologist originally from the Netherlands.

"Cardiology had never been on my mind prior to meeting my mentor," Jha says. "I just really like looking at ECGs, a paper with bizarre waves but tremendous hidden information about the patient's heart.”

“Cardiology can be immensely satisfying as a profession,” he adds. "While saying that, it is an extremely busy speciality. Cardiology patients represent a significant percentage of medical admissions – and there is a huge amount to learn.”

After working for a year, he made his way to becoming a researcher at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Sweden's biggest hospital, located in Gothenburg on the west coast.

As he wraps up his residency to become a cardiologist, he is now himself a mentor to many budding doctors. The role reversal has also given him a chance to compare the medical education systems in Russia and Sweden. The Swedes, he says, are much more hands on, making sure the students are on the floor meeting patients and observing real-life cases, while in Russia students are more tied to their desks studying theory.

Jha prefers the Swedish model.

As he finishes up his residency, at the end of which he will be a fully-fledged cardiologist, he has also built a life for himself in Sweden. Jha became a father just two months ago and in his spare time he's the secretary and a batsman for the local cricket team GCC.

"I play cricket for Gothenburg, which is an uncommon thing for a doctor, and that in Sweden too," he says 

The Local (news@thelocal.se)


Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article:

The comments below have not been moderated in advance and are not produced by The Local unless clearly stated. Readers are responsible for the content of their own comments. Comments that breach our terms and conditions will be removed.

Your Swedish Career
When Matthew Volsky first came to Sweden he didn't think he would stick around. Six years and a pioneering invention later he tells The Local about the medical device which is helping save lives around the world.
Jenna Iwanchuk had never visited Europe, let alone Sweden, before she moved from Canada to Gothenburg two years ago, she tells The Local. Now she runs a local pet shop ably assisted by her dog, Tindra.
US expat Faith George tells The Local about how she mastered the Swedish language, seeing the positives in being made redundant, and how she plans to show Swedes another side of the United States.
What does an eccentric Swedish farmer have in common with an Australian paleontologist? No, it's not a Ross from Friends joke, it's about a petrified fern and a career in scientific research in Sweden.
US micro brewer Kevin Zelnio talks about the importance of Swedish contacts, how Swedes are Europe's most progressive beer makers, and how brewing beer in the Swedish forest makes him feel like Walter White from Breaking Bad.
Whether you're bored or simply have your sights set on greener pastures, many will face the day when it's time move on. Here's how.
Swedish Employment News
Sweden last year attracted more talent than it lost, with engineers topping the table of immigrants. In Europe, the biggest influx of professionals was to Germany, but a Middle Eastern country outperformed all surveyed markets.
"We have to hit the brakes and the gas at the same time." Does your Swedish boss confuse you? You're not alone. Swedes have crowned that phrase as the worst workplace cliché of the year.
What does an eccentric Swedish farmer have in common with an Australian paleontologist? No, it's not a Ross from Friends joke, it's about a petrified fern and a career in scientific research in Sweden.
Municipal staff in Gothenburg will act as guinea pigs in a proposed push for six-hour workdays with full pay, with hopes that it will cut down on sick leave, boost efficiency, and ultimately save Sweden money.
Are you looking for a job in Sweden but having trouble with your CV? Here are the Swedish words you should avoid, courtesy of LinkedIn's annual list of "overrated" buzzwords.
A new survey looking at how Swedes feel about their job has put one profession far down on the bottom rung of well-being in the workplace.

International Sales - Stockholm based
Marcus Evans is looking for International Sales Executives
FULL JOB AD »

THG is hiring for the Stockholm office!
THG is looking for International Sports Sales Executives to sell their VIP hospitality facilities at major sports events.
FULL JOB AD »

Volvo
Göteborg
Careerbuilder
Added 07/30/14

Net Entertainment NE AB
Stockholm
Careerbuilder
Added 07/30/14

Academic Work
Göteborg
Careerbuilder
Added 07/30/14

Randstad
Göteborg
Careerbuilder
Added 07/30/14

Randstad
Göteborg
Careerbuilder
Added 07/30/14

Studentwork
Stockholm
Careerbuilder
Added 07/30/14

Volvo Car Group
Göteborg, VTG
Monster
Added 07/30/14

Adecco
Göteborg, VTG
Monster
Added 07/30/14

Midasplayer AB
Stockholm, STHM
Monster
Added 07/30/14

Michael Page
Gothenburg, VTG
Monster
Added 07/30/14