Story of Balázs Sári, psychiatrist
It is always significant when a doctor decides to search for a new job abroad. This is the topic of our interview with Balázs Sári, psychiatrist, who has been working in Denmark since March, 2013.
Balázs had been considering finding a job in a foreign country for a while, before he stumbled upon this opportunity at Medicolink: his decision to move to Scandinavia was primarily based on his need for a better work environment and a higher standard of living. „ In Denmark, the general position of the doctors and patients is better in every way.”
In Budapest, he learned the language and was hired at his current place of employment with the help of Medicolink. Balázs succeeded in learning the basics of the Danish language quickly from the professional and competent teachers. „Even the last, specialization-focused month of the 6-month-course was of very high quality. I was also rather enjoying that I was able to phrase my thoughts independently and that my vocabulary had reached a pretty good level. Looking back at the first months of the course, I realized they were very patient with us.”
Welcomed the Danish way
Due to the dissimilarities of lifestyle and work environment, and mentality, the community of a Danish hospital is different, which is also apparent from the way they welcome a new colleague. „In my experience, the atmosphere of the workplace is much better than back home. People here complain much less. Everyone was very nice to me upon my arrival, and this has not changed over the past 3 and a half years. They treat their new colleagues nicely, attentively, and patiently.”
Scandinavian work culture
Unlike his last workplace, where he had to care for patients around the clock, forcing him to do overtime, the Danish clinic, where he is currently working, he has more free time for himself and his family. The occasional overtime is precisely documented and paid, which was not possible in Hungary.
The work environment is different, too: the work culture in Denmark typically varies from that of most Mid-Eastern-European countries. Here, they pay more attention to the well-being of the employees, and community life is very important in the workplace as well. „They place great emphasis on well-being in the workplace – so that people can feel good. The prevention of burnout plays a very important role. What I see here, in the public sector is that they do not have unrealistic expectations towards the employees, they try to avoid overloading them. We finish what we can, the rest can wait till tomorrow.”
What about professional development?
Many young doctors want to work abroad because of the possibility of professional development. The professional training in Denmark is not based on the credit system, but rather the completion of diverse specialization modules and specific courses are required. The courses take a few days, they represent high professional quality, and partaking is financially supported by the hospital. Newly graduated doctors and residents of other professions are much more involved in psychiatric patient care and the on-call system, where they can be in touch with specialized doctors of greater knowledge, and the opportunity for professional development is therefore a given. „Currently, I am working in clinical patient care, where I can develop professionally. I have the possibility of individual patient management, while I can also frequently consult more experienced professionals if needed. The chief of department in particular has taught me a lot and I can always turn to him with confidence if I have a question.”
For Balázs, the on-call system has provided better conditions, as well. At his previous job he had to be on call 4-6 times per month, in Denmark this number has decreased to 2-3 occasions monthly. ”I am the head physician in attendance now, which means I am on phone alert, so I don’t have to spend my nights at the hospital anymore. This is a great ease.”
„My advice for those who are planning to go abroad is not to hesitate for too long, and to start language learning as soon as possible. This process requires a lot of perseverance and patience. Being able to compromise is essential, we have to accept a limited work standard at the beginning, because of the language barrier. It is worth preparing for what life abroad gives and what it takes. A notable disadvantage is the distance from family and friends in Hungary. The possibilities of forming a circle of friends with native speakers is more limited.
Financial safety, a less stressful life and the opportunity of professional development makes up for this, however. In sum, I would describe my life here as safe, calm and predictable. But if someone does not find what he or she was looking for, then I think, as a doctor it is always possible to turn back.”
Did the article made you consider not only visit, but work in Denmark as a medical specialist?