Interview with Dr Giuseppe Guerriero, a psychiatrist recruited by Paragona to the university hospital in Gothenburg in 2014


What has taking your career to Sweden and Sahlgrenska University (SU) meant for you?

It has been very rewarding and has given me the opportunity I always wanted: to work in a highly specialized and stimulating environment where I develop professionally and continuously advance my medical career.

At SU, do you have the opportunity to sub-specialize and obtain specialist competence or pursue research in parallel with your clinical work?

Yes, and it was precisely that which got me to move to Sweden – and all my expectations have been met! At SU I have been able to increase my knowledge and competence continuously, and in line with my needs and wishes, thanks to the possibility of exploring different areas within my specialty and participating on national/international courses and in conferences. At the moment for example, I am training part time alongside my , ordinary clinical work with the aim of starting a  completely new unit at the clinic – very exciting!

Some of my working hours are also devoted to  research. My goal is to obtain a PhD within a few years.

Have you had a difficulty adapting to a new management and organizational culture?

I don’t deny that the cultural differences between my native country, Italy, and Sweden are striking, which is reflected in a different but well-functioning organization. If that on the one hand can make you a little confused to begin with, it can on the other hand facilitate adapting to the new work environment a lot. In Sweden the concept of hierarchy is not so salient, decisions are most frequently made collectively. This allows you to participate all the time, and to have the chance to influence as well as understand what is going on around you.

Did you receive enough support during your introduction period?

I had plenty of time during my introduction period to get to know the clinic from the ground up. I had the support of a supervisor I could turn to for answers to all the questions that inevitably came up during this phase. I also had regular meetings with my manager, who is always available to offer me support in my concerns, help out with any problems and also provide important feedback about my progress. I was given enough introduction time to get into the work gradually, without stress, and then to be able to work independently.

Do you feel your Swedish language skills are sufficient when meeting patients?

I have never had any particular problems communicating with patients. Swedes are used to interacting with foreign doctors and usually have no problems with that. They understand our Swedish beginners’ mistakes and make an effort to have a working and effective communication anyway!

What would be your advice to other doctors thinking about taking their careers to Sweden?

If you are thinking of doing that, it is almost certainly because something may be missing in your professional life. I feel that Sweden, and in particular SU, offer everything you could ask for as a doctor: a pleasant and stimulating work environment, great opportunities for professional development, as well as a good wage development. And in addition to that, Sweden is a very beautiful country with wonderful nature and a society centred around the individual. It is easy to be in charge of your life and plan a future here; I have never regretted moving here.

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