In the primary care of Region Jämtland Härjedalen you work independently with patients from the entire medical spectrum. You are also a part of developing the region's future healthcare. Work here is characterized by close collaboration, across professional boundaries and with patients. In your free time you have breathtaking nature around the corner. Meet Marije Boks who took the chance to work and live in a place where others come on vacation.
“For me, one of the great benefits of being a doctor is that I can work pretty much anywhere. I have always known that I would work abroad at some point, that it would be early in my career, however, was not as expected.
For a long time, I was thinking I would become a specialist doctor in the Netherlands – thinking it would be easier considering I know the language, and that routines and pharmaceuticals are known to me – and then possibly work abroad later in my career.
One day I heard about working as a general practitioner in the primary healthcare of rural Sweden. I was told you get to work with a wide range of conditions, and it seemed to be a job full of contrasts and variety. It also seemed to leave free time to enjoy other parts of life. The more I read, the more I was convinced: This was the job for me!
I already spoke a little Swedish so when my husband and I decided, things happened fast. We knew we wanted to live close to the mountains. But at the same time, we did not want to live so far north that it would take us more than two days to drive by car to the Netherlands.
My husband and I have been on holiday in the mountain areas of Jämtland Härjedalen on several occasions and we have always enjoyed it thoroughly. That is why I contacted the director of family medicine training in Region Jämtland Härjedalen when we started planning the move. Two months later, I went there to visit several healthcare centres, all of which were situated relatively far away from the main hospital, Östersund Hospital, which is also the only one in the region.
Primary care in region Jämtland Härjedalen is carried out at close to thirty healthcare centres. Seven of them are within 20 kilometres from the hospital, the others up to 250 kilometres away. The catchment area for each healthcare centre varies from about 2,000 up to 12,000 inhabitants.
My choice finally fell on Sveg, a small town 180 kilometres from the hospital. We take care of all kinds of medical conditions, situations and patients – from skiing injuries (we have our own x-ray equipment) and large wounds to common chronic diseases. We have an observation unit where we can monitor patients, so we do not have to send them to the hospital unless they are seriously ill. And we do regularly meet seriously ill patients because a lot of people, given the distances in the region, do not always seek emergency care in the first place. Region Jämtland Härjedalen is also investing in a range of e-health solutions to make healthcare more available for patients even in remote areas. It truly is an exciting and varying job!
Even outside of work, a lot has changed. We moved from urban city life in the Netherlands to a beautiful farm in the Härjedalen forest, close to mountains and ski resorts. We have more time to hike in the mountains and go kayaking in summer, and to ski in winter.
The small town Sveg has everything you need in everyday life; good supermarkets, petrol stations, schools, gyms and exercising facilities and cultural activities. If you want a taste of city life and eat at nice restaurants or go shopping, you can go to Östersund. From Östersund there are flight connections that take you to Stockholm in an hour – or to Amsterdam in around four hours.
Today I work, live and enjoy nature in a place where others come on vacation!”
resident as general practitioner at Sveg Healthcare Centre.