Dr Amat, a Spanish psychiatrist recruited by Paragona to Gothenburg in 2014


AMAT CALSINA FERRER, a Spanish psychiatrist recruited to Sahlgrenska University Hospital (SU) in Gothenburg in 2014

What has taking your career to Sweden and SU meant for you?

For me it has been a step forward in my career as I have been given opportunities to explore a new culture and way of working. SU has offered me the opportunity to develop together with competent and pleasant colleagues.

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

I feel that there are good opportunities to develop at SU through sub-specialization or research. For me it’s important to be able to combine my clinical work in an inpatient ward in a research position, and the plan is that I am soon going to start with research one day per week together with other colleagues. Managers and the management in general provide strong support and have a clear interest in ensuring there are good conditions for research.

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

It has been easy to adapt to the management culture since we work in a similar way in Spain. What I have come across that is different is the equality between the different professions.

Did you receive enough support during your introduction period?

When you arrive in a new country you need all the support you can get, and I feel that I did. You feel like your brain is in overdrive at first, as there is so much to learn all at once (a new language, a new computer system, new colleagues, a new home…). I think it’s important, despite all the support, to remind yourself that you can’t learn everything right away, and to try to give yourself time.

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

Learning Swedish has gone relatively well – it was a lot quicker than what I thought before I moved here. At the beginning I took part in a programme that consisted of a few months’ introduction (the PLUS programme*), which helped me to improve and to feel comfortable with the language and the work in Swedish healthcare. Of course I made some hilarious misinterpretations in the beginning, but you have to be generous with that. It’s always been important to me not to be afraid to ask colleagues if I don’t understand a sentence or a word, and to let them correct me. After just over 3 years I am still learning new words all the time.

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

The most important thing for me is that you have decided to see a different way of working, and to learn new or different working methods. This is a process that takes time, and it’s important to use the time to be able to get used to the new system and society, while at the same time working hard on the language. Personally I feel that there are so many advantages to it that I’m happy to recommend the adventure.

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