Working as a doctor in Sweden vs New Zealand

Swedish doctor hiking - Sweden vs NZ

A dermatologist’s account of moving from Sweden to New Zealand

Originally from Sweden, Dermatologist Dr Anita Eshraghi has spent a year living and working in New Zealand with her family. Both Anita and her husband, who is also a doctor, contacted Medrecruit to assist them to complete the paperwork and tests, and find their ideal jobs.

Moving your family to the other side of the world and working in a different healthcare system isn’t easy, but Anita says the experience has been worth it. We talked to her in the final months of her stay to find out how she’d found working in a comparative healthcare system and if she’d enjoyed the New Zealand lifestyle.

What influenced your decision to move to New Zealand?  

I’m a dermatologist and have an interest in skin cancer – so I was interested in working somewhere where there was a lot of it! I also love travel and experiencing new cultures, so the move was a personal and a career-based one.

The idea first came about when I went to Europe to do a course in dermoscopy and I met a doctor from New Zealand. At the time, I thought: New Zealand is so far away! But he invited me to come and stay for three weeks, so I went with my family and we travelled in a camper van and loved it.

What was your first step to find a job here?  

I asked the doctor I’d met and he suggested I find an agency. I hadn’t heard of any before, so I Googled it and found a GP couple who’d done the same [worked and travelled in NZ] and they’d used Medrecruit.

It took a year to do everything – pass the English tests, complete the paperwork and find a job. But once we were here it was SO easy! Now we’ve been here a whole year and we don’t want to go back! The kids have done very well – they didn’t speak one word of English before they came here and now they can read and write and speak to each other in English all of the time.

How has working as a dermatologist here in New Zealand differed from back home, in Sweden?

The system is so similar, I was fine after a week, though you need to be very independent – you need to have the experience before you come here.

The pathology in patients is different, more varied as there’s pale skin, dark skin and poverty here that’s not so common in Sweden. But the systems are struggling with the same problems in healthcare.

How have you found the New Zealand lifestyle? 

Not so stressed! It’s SO relaxed, I haven’t been stressed since I got here. It’s a better quality of life. We love to ski and surf – we’ve taken surf lessons every weekend in Raglan. Not a single weekend has been spent in the house.

What’s next for you and your family? 

I’m not sure. We only came for one year – we resigned from our jobs in Sweden and rented out our house. We’ve extended our stay by three or four months but we can’t rent out our house in Sweden for longer. I’ve been working in a public hospital and a private one – for Mole Map, so I’ll continue to work online for them. New Zealand feels like our second home now.

What have you learned from working in the New Zealand healthcare system? 

They share knowledge here a lot more. Theoretical knowledge here is very good – they force everyone to read a lot and there’s more time to do that. You’re encouraged to give talks (which help you to engage with the topic so much more) and attend talks, go to conferences etc.

Do you have any tips for families considering the moving to New Zealand? 

Be very open-minded. You have to accept that people work differently and the Swedish way isn’t necessarily the best way.

Going through an agency makes it so much easier – Colin [Medrecruit solutions specialist] helped us do the paperwork, to check it and double check it. We talked so many times too – he was interested in my family and asked after them, he was very supportive. It was great to have someone who calls and can give you advice when moving to a new country.

Find out everything you need to know about moving to Australia or New Zealand in our free IMG Guide.
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Bethany Rogers
07 September 2018Article by Bethany RogersMedrecruit Editor