How is the work of a nurse in Sweden? – Interview with the nurse Sonja Skrinjaric
How is the work of a nurse in Sweden? – Interview with the nurse Sonja Skrinjaric
To learn more about how the work of a nurse in Sweden is, we talked to the nurse Sonja Skrinjaric who relocated to Sweden from Croatia with her family in March 2018. Sonja and her family had for a long time been interested in moving to Sweden to work and in 2017 she was offered a new job within the Swedish health care with help from MediCarrera.
Sonja, her husband, and two kids are very satisfied with the whole process and do also want to give some tips and advice for other candidates that are interested in moving to Scandinavia.
We asked her about her and her family’s experience with MediCarrera, differences between the work as a nurse in Sweden and Croatia, her plans for the future and much more.
How did you get in touch with MediCarrera?
When I first got in contact with MediCarrera was three years ago. We were very interested in moving to Sweden to work there so we had taken contact with a company in Croatia. This company gave us the chance to learn Swedish once every week through Swedish language lessons. Later, this company recommended MediCarrera to us. Already the day after we reached out to MediCarrera they contacted us which made us very happy.
How did you experience the intensive language course in Budapest?
It was perfectly organized and everything happened in time. We lived in the city center in Budapest, only 20 minutes away from the language course. Our teachers, Monica and Balazs, were amazing and after five months I had reached level C1 in Swedish.
My husband and my two kids also participated in the language course in Budapest. The doctors and nurses had Balazs as a teacher, while partners and kids had Monica. Balazs taught us everything, he is the best teacher ever. Monica did also a very good job. My kids learned Swedish so well they could immediately start school when we moved to Sweden.
Today, we still have good contact with the teachers and other participants of the language course. The course was intensive and we had a lot of homework and studies, but everything that matters is how much you are willing to learn. You have to be prepared to give one hundred percent. We, who participated in the course, did also meet up in our free time to practice and speak Swedish together with each other.
Did it make it easier for you to read a preparatory online course before you started learning Swedish in Budapest?
It facilitated a lot as we, during the preparing online-course learned how to study independently. The online classes were held at MediCarreras platform by the teacher Rebecka and everything went very well. We had a lot of homework though. It was during this course that I and my colleague spoke Swedish for the first time.
What do you think is the biggest challenge when it comes to learning a new language?
I enjoy learning languages through contact with teachers. The biggest challenges, in the beginning, were to start talking and to understand when someone spoke over the telephone. At first, it is scary. To learn the medical language is also a big challenge. An idea would be to start with the medical language already at the beginning of the course. The way it is today you have to learn a lot during a short time, at the end of the course. At work, my boss told me that I can ask about things as much as I want and as much as I need because it is better to ask than to make mistakes. Everything falls into place over time. You can not learn everything at once, you have to take a little at a time. You can develop all the time, as long as you want.
How did you feel that the move to Sweden worked with the help of MediCarrera?
The relocation with MediCarrera worked perfectly, already in Budapest. When we moved to Sweden, we got flight tickets and everything was organized. We arrived in Sweden one week before I was going to start my new job. One hour after our arrival, the van with all our things arrived which was perfect. Our family also has a dog and everything went well with that part as well.
For us, we needed to be able to get to the job from our new house by bus since we had no car from the start. This request was taken into consideration and we were given a great place to stay, where we could go by bus to work. We felt very safe, and not afraid once.
One important thing to keep in mind is that the children must also be well prepared for the move. It is good if the parents can talk to the children as quickly as possible in the new language. It can also be good for children to read books. Many people learn grammar best by reading books, texts, and magazines or newspapers online. In Budapest, our teacher advised us to watch Swedish films and series, which we did a lot at the beginning with Swedish subtitles. Now we can all Swedish actors. In Budapest, we did not go to work, which meant that we had a lot of time to do this.
“The course was intensive and we had a lot of homework and studies, but everything that matters is how much you are willing to learn. You have to be prepared to give one hundred percent.”
What is the work of a nurse in the stroke department in Sweden like if you compare it with the same work in Croatia? Are there any big differences?
There are big differences because things are different in Sweden. Here, we are a whole team working together in the stroke department. The team consists of doctors, nurses, dietitians, curators, therapists, and speech therapists. There is a great development among nurses in Sweden.
In the home care industry in Croatia, we worked a lot with the patients, but I think there is a better follow-up process with the patients in Sweden. I am very interested in different types of wounds and the work on how we must focus on avoiding pressure ulcers. I regularly attend conferences and network meetings to develop in this area and I have already developed a lot in just one year. Also, I have received a lot of help from associations and unions. In Sweden, as a nurse, you have a great responsibility, which is a big difference compared to how it is in Croatia. In Sweden, we respect each other and no one is above or below anyone. You do not have to be afraid of speaking up. We share experiences in the ward and doctors listen to us nurses a lot because we have close contact with the patient. Every day is a new challenge.
How are you and your family doing in Sweden?
We are very satisfied. We have been enjoying ourselves perfectly since day one. Before the move, we were very interested in Sweden and read a lot about the country. We wanted to create our own experience and not listen to other people’s images of Sweden and because of that, we avoided reading about the country in blogs and similar forums. It is always difficult in the beginning when it comes to arranging a new bank number or similar stuff, and it takes a lot of patience. It is also difficult at the beginning of a new job when everything is new and there are new people around. You are a bit tired in the beginning as you think everything in two different languages and later have to translate it. A good thing to do is to write down everything during the induction and then translate it at home in peace and quiet. If something is unclear, you can also get help from Google. It is important to understand that one should not know everything at once.
The children’s teachers are fantastic which feels good as we had very good contact with the teachers in Croatia as well.
Sport is important to us and we live close to the sports center and beautiful nature. We swim a lot, walk and cycle. Stockholm is also close by.
What was your first impression of Sweden? And Swedes?
It was a very good impression. Swedes are very nice, talkative, have a lot of fun and at work, we have a great work environment which is important. People are friendly everywhere, in the shop, at the sports center and so on. We have no problems with communication. On the breaks at work, it is important to respect each other and to give each other peace and quiet. You must want to talk and respect from both sides is required.
What kind of plans do you have for your work in healthcare?
I develop all the time and I am very happy with my department. Because I am interested in wounds, I still learn a lot about pressure ulcers. Also, I have started giving lectures and presentations about this, in Swedish. I want to teach other people and pass on the information I have. There are new connections and new information all the time. I also organize meetings with companies that have this kind of equipment. In the future, I want to continue to develop and continue to receive certificates from the courses offered through the job that are organized together by the managers at my department and Swedish associations.
Another positive thing is that it is easy to go back home to Croatia to visit loved ones, as the flights go regularly.
If you are interested and listen well, then you will come a long way. With MediCarrera there were never any problems or misunderstandings and everyone was so nice. We are so grateful!
We want to thank Sonja for taking her time to answer our questions. We wish her and her family continuous luck with their life in Sweden. We believe that she can develop a lot and create a great career.
If you are curious to read more about the work of a nurse and why you should work as a nurse in Sweden, you can do so in our previous blog post.
Are you interested in working as a nurse in Sweden?