Vladimir Ostojić is an abdominal surgeon. Together with his wife, anesthesiologist Rijalda, and the rest of his immediate family, he moved from Croatia to Uppsala – a town in Sweden […]See more
What is the importance of language when moving to a new country?
27. January 2021.
In order to successfully move out and start living in a new environment, and therefore start working in a new hospital or clinic, it is important to establish successful communication with other colleagues and, of course, with patients. Because languages are not the same and do not have the same global popularity, countries deal in different ways with the requirements they place on practitioners when obtaining a medical license.
“Why would I need to know the language for a job in medicine?”
In medicine, knowledge of the language is simply necessary to provide the patient with the best possible service, which is especially relevant in specializations such as psychiatry or paediatrics, where the language is one of the most important tools, if not the most important, in working with patients. There are situations in which doctors could manage without speaking the language, but in practice, these situations are extremely rare and countries have approached this issue in such a way as to require doctors to comprehend the language at a certain level to officially allow them to practice medicine.
So, for example, countries like Ireland or the United Kingdom require doctors to have IELTS, OET or some of the accepted certificates of proficiency in English, German-speaking countries require a certificate of proficiency in German, France requires knowledge of French and so on. It is for this reason that we advise candidates for these countries to perfect their language, as knowing it opens the door to further employment.
Since the official language of nordic countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Norway are mostly unknown to the population outside of Scandinavia, these countries have approached the subject in a slightly different way. Therefore, future employers are paying the cost of the language course for doctors and medical staff they will employ so that they can, in a few months, relocate and start working with a mentor and further improving the language.
As everyone’s goal is to maintain and improve the quality of medical services, doctors are required to achieve the required level of service. Just as on the one hand a medical degree guarantees that you are familiar with medical terms and approach, and is necessary for practising medicine, on the other hand, knowledge of the language is a cover that you will successfully communicate with patients and have all the necessary tools to provide righteous care. Playing “Chinese whispers” is an extremely expensive game in a business environment, especially when it comes to human lives and the health of loved ones.
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