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Interview with Yousef Mohammed from Iraq

- I am here to stay!

- If you are a doctor then you are a doctor wherever you are. People everywhere generally have the same illnesses and the same problems. As long as you know the language, we doctors can perform our services anywhere.

- The above comes from the experience of Yousef Mohammed, a specialist in general medicine working at Storå health care centre, in the centre of Bergslagen. His office has a view of the wooded valley, the vast lake and the school across the road.

- This place is perfect for someone who likes nature and people, says Yousef.

Storå health care centre is not one of the seven care centres turning to the Netherlands to recruit specialists in general medicine. Despite this, the health care centre is involved in the recruitment project and Yousef  stresses his own commitment to supporting newly arrived doctors at health care centres in nearby communities. He was met with the same warm reception when he arrived in Sweden and wishes this to continue.

Medical training in Iraq

In 1997, Yousef Mohammed, 27 years old, emigrated to Sweden for work. He had his medical training as well as several years of service in Iraq. After language training – Swedish for Immigrants and a course in medical Swedish - as well as the medical competency exam that non-European doctors must pass, he was allowed to begin his internship in Sweden.

- At first I planned on becoming a paediatrician, but then I thought general medicine was a good choice. At the health care centre I get to meet all kinds of people, children and adults, and I don't need to be on call in the evenings and weekends, which is good for the family.

Yousef Mohammed has worked since 2007 as a fully trained specialist in general medicine with a Swedish license and is therefore a sought-after resource in Swedish health care. After that he has worked at two other health care centres before arriving at Storå, a couple of miles north of Lindesberg.

Useful internship

Approximately fifteen people work at Storå health care centre. In addition to three doctors and a couple of doctors in training, there are nurses, physical therapists and a laboratory. The professional groups work together closely.

- All doors are open here and everyone is willing to help out. The nurses are an incredibly important resource that you can always rely on. It is well organized and well staffed and you feel calm when you know that the health care centre works well. If I am away from work, I know that there are others who step in for me and my patients.

Almost everyone in Storå knows each other, the staff know the patients and vice versa. But Yousef thinks it is good to not live exactly where he works. His family has lived for many years in the central town of Lindesberg. And he plans to remain in Sweden.

- Yes, I came here to stay here. My children are growing up; they attend daycare and the Swedish school system and speak Swedish - even if we speak Kurdish at home, says Yousef and laughs a little.

Yousef has no problems with the Swedish language and speaks correctly with an extensive vocabulary. But he has thought about how abilities differ in the way people understand and make themselves understood.
Yousef believes that initial contact with other authorities, especially the Social Insurance Agency and its role regarding sick leave, was more difficult that learning the language.

- To understand Swedish society, it is important to get an internship and a lot of support in the beginning. For me, it was good taking the long route with general medicine and a specialist internship, so I got help and support in my development and adjustment to Swedish conditions. The differences for a Dutch doctor, naturally, should not be as great.

But regardless of where you come from, the workplace must take in new recruits in an open and welcoming way and make sure they find their professional roles.

- It is important that as colleagues, we take time and effort to help doctors who move here from Holland to integrate into the team. Arriving at a health care centre that is in great need of doctors is a challenge.

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Page revised Tuesday, January 31, 2017

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