It all began with an ad in the paper and an information meeting in Hamburg two years ago. Now Meike Harmening and Frank Moryäner from Germany are receiving their specialty training at Åsele hospital and are happier than ever with their chosen profession.
They really feel at home in this small inland municipality. In fact Åsele, with its roughly 3,000 inhabitants, feels more like home than Hanover, where Frank and Meike studied to be doctors.
– We both come from small places and have never lived in a big city, says Frank. Here we have the chance to get out and enjoy the countryside. Åsele is the perfect location for this, situated as it is between the mountains and the sea.
Attracted by the work
But it was perhaps not primarily the scenery that attracted the couple to Västerbotten. The employment situation for doctors in Germany in general and Cuxhaven in particular (where they were both working a year ago) is not something they wish to return to. They have now exchanged a high work-load, mountains of paperwork and little time for patients for something completely different.
– It feels as if the patient is the centre of attention here, says Meike.
When they first arrived in Åsele they divided their time between working at the hospital and learning Swedish. They quickly fell into their roles as general physicians at the same time as their patients grew accustomed to their guests from so far away.
– They were used to the doctors here not always speaking Swedish and they thought it was good that we were here, says Frank.
Bought a house
Now Frank and Meike speak almost fluent Swedish and have no language problems at all with either patients or colleagues.
– But in the beginning it was difficult to speak on the phone because we didn’t know if the patients understood what we said, he goes on.
They bought a house in Åsele almost straight away and it was very cheap compared to Germany. Next year Frank and Meike will be continuing their training in both Lycksele and Umeå before returning to Åsele.
– We are planning on staying here, they say.