A clear vision of life in Sweden from the perspective of Antonela, a medical laboratory diagnostics engineer

Openness to new opportunities is visible in various ways, so it is sometimes motivated by a better offer, a more interesting position or a desire for something new. But what separates us from realizing the vision of a better life, which, like our interlocutor Dr. Antonela Slišković, we strive to achieve, is taking the risk to take that step. In this review, find out how the journey to moving to Sweden went and what the working day of a senior laboratory technician in medical-laboratory diagnostics looks like.

Review of Antonela, Medical Laboratory Diagnostics Engineer in Sweden

Antonela’s desire to move to Scandinavia has always existed, but various life situations led her to postpone that decision. The desire did not subside, so the search for better opportunities began. The chosen country was Denmark, and a license was even obtained, but the relocation plan failed due to the impossibility of finding a Danish language course in Croatia. As it often happens in life, when one door closes, new opportunities open up. That new opportunity was the news about the health careers fair in Zagreb, where she first met Zrinka, the owner of the company Incor, to whom she told her about her desire to work in Scandinavia and the difficulties she encountered. And it was that meeting that led her to her first job offer in Sweden. “I purposefully went to Zagreb to meet Zrinka and introduce myself to her. I sat in front of her and started talking, even though I knew that Zrinka and her company “Incor” work mainly with doctors. She listened to all this carefully and calmly. Zrinka did for me what no one else did: she brought me a tender from Sweden.”

Taking such a big step in her career had to be approved by the people dearest to her – her husband and children, and from them she received full support for a new beginning. “My family was my biggest supporter. We’ve been planning this for a while. The children were extremely happy, and so was the husband.” – says Antonela and continues: “The moving process itself went without any problems and she is satisfied with the organization, as well as the moral support during the journey. Everything was quite well organized. You have a paid plane ticket, and all your things arrive by truck at the exact moment you land at your destination. No waiting. The hospital pays all the costs of your move. And Zrinka… Zrinka is there to calm your nervousness at any moment and send a word of support.”

She saw the difference in Swedish culture immediately after her arrival, so she says, “Although I just moved to Sweden, I can notice how the Swedes have everything organized. That suits me. Even though I’m a foreigner, I don’t feel that way. The working conditions are excellent.” It also confirms the experiences with the education of all previous candidates, which is not only encouraged, but also fully expected of the healthcare worker to further educate himself. “In Croatia, it was not right to ask your boss to send you for additional training. Here it is normal and desirable.”

The main differences in performing diagnostics

In Sweden, it is done with continuous double or triple control, which is the main difference compared to the Croatian health system. In addition to training, Antonela is surrounded by a multinational team that is constantly improving, collaborating and sharing knowledge so that a lot of information about new methods and technologies can be heard in the laboratory itself. “I am constantly reading, researching and educating myself about new and improved ways of working. I work in a multinational team, which is very good. You can learn something new from everyone. The work is done with triple control, which is the main difference between work in Croatia and Sweden. Not here: someone else will finish what I start. Everything is completed on time and must be checked. People are more responsible in what they do. Everything is better organized. Colleagues are ready to help you and show you everything.”

For her, the Swedes are just a little more moderate in their way of life, which she sees as an advantage. There is no yelling, overvoting and arguing, but everything is resolved in a calm tone. “I don’t see any disadvantages at the moment, except that the Swedes are a little reserved, a little colder. Maybe not colder, but more moderate. I have more free time, there is no judgment, no subterfuge, no false authorities, ethical principles are respected. No raised tones, insults. We talk to each other, we respect other people’s ideas. A lot of attention is paid to safety in the workplace. It was not like that in Croatia.” And the climate is not a problem for her, nor is it as cold as she worried it would be. “As I live and work in central Sweden, the climate is a little colder, the winter a little hotter. Don’t listen to stories about how it’s terribly cold here, how you can’t see the sun, how it’s always dark. That is not so.

Things are much brighter, and life is more pleasant and better.”

Working day of a senior laboratory technician in medical laboratory diagnostics

“I start working at 7:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. After that, there are Swedish language lessons. I continue with Swedish language lessons from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Namely, in order to be able to work in the laboratory at the Swedish Hospital, you need to have a C1 level of the Swedish language. C1 level is required to obtain a license. I am currently working as a laboratory assistant. When I get my license, I will do my job as a senior laboratory assistant. Of course, the working hours will also be different then.” – work in Sweden and Croatia differs in many aspects, and for our interlocutor, each of them has an advantage in the Swedish healthcare system.

In the department where Antonela collaborates with other colleagues, tasks are carried out according to a coordinated rhythm that leaves no unfinished tasks. “I work at the Department of Transfusion Medicine and Clinical Chemistry. There, I am currently working on devices that I did not have the opportunity to work on in Croatia. In the morning when I arrive at the workplace, I disinfect all surfaces, start the computers, prepare reagents for device calibration, perform controls on the devices. After that, I review all the daily, weekly and monthly protocols. I control the measurements of samples of blood, urine and other body fluids. After that, I check whether all searches have been done correctly. You leave nothing undone. I always take notes and use a variety of tools to help me stay on top of everything every day.”

And in addition, the support of colleagues is continuous and respectful, so all doubts are resolved through conversation, explains Antonela. “We have a meeting once every two weeks. The meeting was divided into two periods. It shows how well organized people are and how important it is that everyone working in the lab can attend the meeting without the work in the lab suffering.”

Since moving to Sweden, Antonela has spoken to many people who have asked her for advice or information, and the advice is to research, get informed and get going. “The very beginning of the job application, waiting for the results, conducting the interview… that’s the hardest part. If you are satisfied, you go to visit the hospital to see if it is acceptable to you. Afterwards, the final decision is made, both by the hospital and by you. Zrinka and her company Incor helped me a lot along the way with all the advice and support.” In the end, she shared a piece of advice that applies to everyone who is thinking about moving to Scandinavia: “Those of you who decide to do all this, all you need is the will.” Nothing else. You need to know what you want and go for it. You won’t regret it…that’s for sure.”

Read more reviews from other candidates here!

Bemaninng – extra job or a lifestyle

Are you a worker in Scandinavian healthcare and haven’t heard of Bemaninng? Then this is the right article for you because it reveals the potential for higher earnings for healthcare professionals who want to manage their time. Regardless of whether you are a doctor, nurse, radiology engineer or have some other specialization, if you have a license to work in one of the Scandinavian countries and want additional career opportunities, keep reading because here you will find all the information and necessary steps to achieve that goal.

Sweden, Norway and Denmark are well-known countries for their development and uniqueness compared to other European countries, but they also have something completely unknown to us. Despite good salaries in healthcare, additional work, known as “Extra jobb or Bemanning”, is very popular and desirable. Although Bemaninng is basically an additional job, more and more medical workers decide on this form of income by reducing the working hours in their home hospitals, and in order to embark on this adventure, two conditions must be met:

  • knowledge of Norwegian, Danish or Swedish at C1 level
  • having a license to work in one of the three mentioned Scandinavian countries

There are numerous advantages of this additional way of working, of which the additional income is the most prominent. Health workers are paid a much higher hourly rate for additional hours in some of the health institutions compared to the regular salary, and in addition to the hourly rate, transportation and accommodation are also provided. An additional incentive for accepting this type of work are opportunities for new acquaintances as well as upcoming experiences and tourist tours of new destinations with the family.

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Considering the higher paid hourly rate and the flexibility that Bemaninng provides, the choice of additional work depends on the preferences of the healthcare worker himself, so it is possible to open your own business, work when you have free time at your regular job or alongside work. The amount of work depends entirely on you, so you can work for a week, two or a month and then take a break and so on in a circle, or work 20% of your time in this way, and the rest at your primary workplace. It is necessary to point out that the option of extra jobb is also available to healthcare professionals who are not located in Scandinavia, but in another European country, but who meet the above conditions.

The experiences of healthcare professionals so far are extremely positive, and the majority of those who tried extra job first reduced the hourly rate of their permanent job to 75%, then to 50%, and in the end they completely switched to extra job or Bemaninng due to greater profitability and adjustment to himself.

If you want to try this type of work and increase your monthly income or gain new skills and experience – we can help you with:

  • finding extra work in any of the three countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark)
  • Swedish language course at Zrinka’s Swedish School

Take your destiny into your own hands and apply.

Specialist training in Sweden from the perspective of Iris, a family doctor

How was the journey from Zrinka’s Swedish school to specialist training in Sweden for Iris, a family doctor who sought happiness for herself and her family in Scandinavia.

Review of Dr. Iris, a family doctor in Sweden

Our interlocutor, Iris Đipalo Juretić, started her career as a demining doctor, and continued to build it firmly through various experiences as a doctor in the Emergency Service, where she spent six years. For the next 9 years, she worked as a family medicine concessionaire in her own practice when she decided it was time for new challenges – to become a family medicine specialist in Sweden. With the support of her husband and son, she began researching Sweden and gathering all the relevant information necessary for a new beginning.

With Zrinka’s school of Swedish until specialization in Sweden

Iris heard many positive experiences about Sweden, which prompted her to seek specialization in a country with “better working conditions, opportunities for adequate advancement and evaluation of knowledge”. In order to more easily compete in the Swedish market of doctors, she decided to enroll in Zrinka’s Swedish school – an online language course that she could take from the comfort of her home. Taking a Swedish language course is a prerequisite for starting work in Swedish hospitals and better competing among colleagues. In Zrinka’s school of Swedish, all materials are available online, and learning a new language is completely facilitated, so the time for learning is flexible.

After the completion of the language course, the work license was obtained and the search for open positions offering the specialization of family physicians began. And why the specialization in Sweden and not in Croatia? One of the main advantages of Sweden’s Swedish specialist system is that there is no specialist exam, which automatically means less stress. “When you have completed all the mandatory courses and rotations at the hospital and work in the parent DZ, you submit the documentation to the rector, who checks it and sends it to their chamber. In the middle of the specialist training, you have a joint meeting with the mentor, the head of the DZ and the rector about your progress, so there is a possibility of shortening the time of the specialization, which normally lasts 5 years.” – says Iris with satisfaction.

During specialization, it is necessary to take mandatory courses for which the hospital pays for travel expenses and food, and in addition, it is possible to register for other courses of your own interest. Iris describes what it looks like in practice: “On a tour of the hospital, it is mandatory to go through internal medicine for 6 months, psychiatry for 12, pediatrics for 10 weeks and gynecology for 4 weeks. Once a month we have a ST day when all the specialists from the region gather. In the morning we have an organized lecture, and in the afternoon we work in a base group where we discuss the difficulties we face, and then twice a year the representatives of the groups try to solve the problems together with the rectors (leaders of training).

What are the working conditions in Sweden?

Starting work in a foreign country and in a completely new business environment is a stressful undertaking for many people. But Iris decided to take the risk and check all the positive stories she had heard, and there was no disappointment. “Working conditions in Sweden and Croatia are immeasurable. You have time for administration, time for examinations, telephone conversations. According to the competencies, you get a number of daily examinations that you have to do, but everything can be agreed upon. If you want to work 80 percent, your specialization is extended by one year. Here, many use shorter working hours because they want more time for themselves. My goal is to finish my specialization as soon as possible so that I can work full time.” – Iris is satisfied with her choice of specialist training.

The number of patients also increases with the year of specialization, but this number is still much lower than in Croatia. “In the first year of specialization there are 35 (patients), in the second 42, in the third 46, in the fourth 44 because most of the time you are on hospital rounds, in the fifth 47. In a private health center the salaries are better, but you also work more. However, it is not something more for us who come from Croatia when you have over 100 contacts a day.” – explains Iris, who is much more satisfied with the working conditions in Sweden than in Croatia.

“Some say that Swedes are cold and unapproachable. I didn’t get that impression.” – Iris is honest about her new colleagues. “My colleagues, especially the lower medical and administrative staff, accepted me very well and helped me integrate into the team. Hanging out every day at a famous fika, lunch or once a month at a get-together after work does not leave the impression of cold people, but the other way around. Every gathering we have, I get a special reminder that I mustn’t not come because that wouldn’t be it.” – laughs Iris, and only the best about the patients: “Patients, like everywhere, are different here. I personally have a very positive experience. To the great surprise of other colleagues, I received flowers, chocolate, home-baked cakes several times, because they say that is not usual for Swedes. But I look at it this way – as much as you give, you get.”

Persistence and patience is the way to go

Through Zrinka’s school of Swedish all the way to specialization in Sweden, it seems like a long road, but one that pays off. “Specializing in Sweden gives you the opportunity to get a quality education and to have a quality private life. It may seem difficult at first because of a new language, a different culture of living, but the Swedish relaxation, nature, working environment quickly comes to the fore.” – says Iris from her perspective. And finally, he has one piece of advice to share that can help new colleagues who decide to make this change in life. “Persistence and patience. Once you enter the system, you can change the work environment, negotiate the salary, work extra and live a quality life.”

You can see more reviews and experiences of our candidates here!