A Nurse in Sweden: Travel Nursing Across the Globe

By Lori Boggan

May 8, 2015

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A Nurse in Sweden

Nurse in Sweden

How it all began……

Hi there!  My name is Lori.  I’m a neonatal nurse in Sweden who began traveling over eight years ago.  For my first contract, I stayed close to home in Florida (as some travelers do) to test the waters.  After my first thirteen-week contract was complete, I headed to San Francisco.  In the eight years and many miles since, I have somewhat rooted myself in a country known for gender equality, meatballs, and Aurora Borealis.

I moved to be a nurse in Sweden five years ago in August.  It has been both challenging and amazing.  You learn so much about yourself when you step completely out of your comfort zone, learn a new language, eat new food, and experience new traditions.  From finding baking powder (bakpulver) in the grocery store to learning to calculate exchange rates, the brain is on overdrive trying to absorb and register all the new experiences that we take for granted when we are in our own environment.  There are days where it is super exciting and there are days when you want to pack your bags and go home out of sheer longing for the familiar.

Nurse in Sweden

Sverige (Sweden)

What brought me to Sweden?  I get this question often from both Americans and Swedes alike.  It was love.  My boyfriend, Fredrik, is Swedish.  We met while I was on a travel assignment in San Francisco and he was working at a startup in Silicon Valley (engineers galore for any single travelers out there).  Neither of us planned to stay permanently in California and had no idea that when we met, we would be inseparable.  Just shy of our third year together, we packed our things and headed east.  I was lucky to get a temporary work and study visa on arrival because Fredrik is a citizen of Sweden.

Nurse in Sweden
One of our first dates. Halloween, 2007. He didn’t dress up (not very common for Swedes), but if you had to guess who people thought he was dressed as???

I live in the second-largest city in Sweden, Gothenburg.

  •  It is a beautiful walkable city on the south-west coast with a population of over 900,00 including both urban and metro areas (Gothenburg).
  • Was a trading city that also has a rich history of fishing.
  • Is home to and the birthplace of Volvo.
  • It has two major universities.  

Culturally, Gothenburg claims Jose Gonzalez as one of their own!  It is the Seattle of Sweden.  Can you sense the pride I feel living in this city?

Nurse in Sweden

I spent the first year I was here studying Swedish intensively at the University of Gothenburg.  After fulfilling the language requirement, I started studying for my Swedish nursing boards which were a written exam (in Swedish).  By May 2013, I had taken and passed my boards!!  All that was left was a three and half month internship in the Swedish medical system followed by a little one-semester course in medical Swedish law (nightmare).

I started working and actually getting a paycheck just over a year ago 🙂

 I work in the second largest NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) in Sweden.  It is a university hospital (Sahlgrenska University Hospital).  Like the U.S., they are short-staffed (more on that soon), so I am able to work contractually and go home when I want.  I am surrounded by some of the brightest doctors, nurses, and techs from around the world.  While it is super challenging thinking, speaking, and charting in Swedish (especially in an emergent situation), I have the constant support and encouragement from a great group of coworkers.  Now on to the next adventure……….my Swedish BSN!!!!  Follow my adventures on Instagram and through my blog, Neonurse.

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