One third of new Swedish nurses choose Norway

One third of new Swedish nurses choose Norway
Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT
Despite a shortage of nurses in many parts of Sweden, last year 1,300 Swedish nurses obtained Norwegian nursing licenses - one third of all the nurses who graduated in Sweden during the year.

Statistics from Norway's social and health services reveal that Swedes have been opting for Norway in similar numbers since 2005.

For many, the decision hinges on money. 

"I received minimum wages in Sweden and it was impossible to increase pay," Andreas Papagiannis, a nurse who lives in Gothenburg but now works in Oslo, told Sveriges Radio.  "I wanted a better salary and I also wanted time to do other things."

Crossing the border to Norway has proved fruitful for Papagiannis, who now works 70 percent of a full week and gets paid more than he did in Sweden.

But the stampede of Swedish nurses to Norway is not just out after cash, a researcher at Gothenburg University said. Stress is also a major factor.

"If you don't feel like you can do your job in a satisfying way, you become very stressed and depressed and try to find a way out," Marianne Törner, who studies nurse work environments, told SR. "If you can't find satisfying work at your current workplace, the alternative is Norway."

The county of Västra Götaland already sets aside 50 million kronor ($7.28 million) each year for things like nurse salaries, but it's not enough for many nurses to nap the bait. 

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