Polish and Swedish doctors in Swedish health care – A study of occupational cultures

Field: Etnologi
Project leader: Magnus Öhlander, Katarzyna Wolanik Boström
Starting year: 2010
Project type: Project

Doctors represent a seemingly universal profession, sharing a set of competences and a partly similar view on their role as doctors. To what degree do the medical education and the professional skills override possible cultural differences? Does the cooperation with immigrant doctors influence the medical and caring practices? Is doctors’ professional status independent of their country of origin? Can the presence of immigrant doctors in Sweden contribute to the visualization of existing ideals concerning the role as a doctor in a Swedish context?

The aim of this project is to produce increased knowledge about doctors’ occupational cultures by describing and analysing their experiences of work places comprising personnel with different national origin, working side by side. The project mainly focuses on doctors born in Poland and Sweden who are employed in the Swedish public medical service. The research material is collected by means of interviews with doctors and observations at their workplaces. The analysis is performed using cultural analytical methods and theories emphasising culture as a continuous process of negotiations of meaning.

The project will contribute with an increased understanding on how the country of origin is of relevance within the medical profession and how it is expressed within the Swedish medical service. In a situation where the number of immigrated doctors employed is increasing this knowledge is important for a successful co-operation within the medical service.