Foreign-educated physicians have become increasingly important for the Swedish healthcare sector. Most of the Swedish county councils actively recruit physicians abroad, and a forecast made by the national board of health and welfare 2013 indicates a continued need for such recruitment. In some EU countries, companies offer intensive Swedish courses accenting medical language for physicians. After about six months of training, the physicians have a job in Sweden waiting for them, in one of the county councils that also stands for the education costs.
Our project idea is to investigate the Swedish language training that physicians from some of the Eastern European coutries are offered in Poland, focusing on verbal interaction, and then follow up and study the physicians’ language use when they have worked for a while in Sweden. Access to data is secured through contacts with Swedish teachers and with the manager of one of the two Polish recruitment and training companies that we intend to study.
The overall aim is to investigate how such language courses prepare the participants for working within the Swedish healthcare. Our starting point lies in the following research questions: How are participants being trained in order to carry out their work in a new language? What communicative practices pose the greatest challenges? What communication skills are needed to manage social and cultural norms in a Swedish healthcare context?
Theoretically and methodologically, the study is grounded in ethnography of communication and interactional sociolinguistics. In the first phase of the project, just after the participants have started their course in Poland, we plan to make observations and interviews, and in the second phase, we will conduct new observations supplemented by role-playing when the course has ended. The third phase of the research will take place in Sweden and it will focus on the newly arrived physicians’ verbal interaction with personnel and patients.
The planned project concerns labor mobility within the common European labor market and the impact of (Eastern European) migration on the Swedish labor market. The project can contribute to increased knowledge of the linguistic and cultural aspects of a European labor market. The project can also contribute to increased knowledge of adult migrants heading for advanced second language use.