Once again I am finding myself in new surroundings – the clinic in a recently converted industrial building houses some 60 staff, which includes this time some colleagues from Portugal. In addition to this some German colleagues are occasionally drafted in from Östersund to help out.
I find it interesting to observe the dynamic of Swedish teams that are integrating the cultural and educational background of colleagues from other nationalities into their working routines. Frequently individual clinics seem to prefer or are ending up with a group of vets from a specific country: in Kumla I found a fair number of French colleagues, Falun favored the Brits and here it was the above mentioned combination.
A new clinic also means a new uniform, a new practice management system (now once again in Swedish, rather than in English or in German), a new set of passwords (don’t we just love them…..), a lot of new names to learn (including an over representation of Annas, Lena/Linas and Åsas this time) and a new uniform – this time a set of blue and white scrubs which turned out to be a good match for the colour of my hair…..
The clinic is extremely spacious, featuring 16+ consulting rooms, a large reception area plus a separate area for feline patients. A state-of-the-art ultrasound machine is inviting to play with, as well as direct digital radiography machines (similar to, but much better than in Virginia Water) and as already mentioned a CT, which appears to become the standard in clinics of this size.
As it turns out, Sundsvall Djursjukhuset is one of only a few clinics left in Sweden that is providing a true 24/7 service which results in animal owners traveling huge distances to get their canine and feline companions treated, especially at nights or on weekends.
One of the first patients I was presented with was a Jämthund that had sustained a jaw and a couple of rib fractures after getting too close to a moose – an as I now found out common set of injuries for this sort of encounter…. His owner had driven over 300 km on mostly countryside lanes to reach us…..
Swedish veterinary clinics are constantly concerned about the mental and the physical wellbeing of their staff. Because of that there will always be tea and coffee in ample supply plus a couple of huge refrigerators for the storage of personal food and for large quantities of cheese and spread which together with traditional flat bread are provided free of charge to all employees at any time of the day and night.
If you haven’t brought your warm lunch or dinner, don’t despair – another couple of industrial freezers is stocked up to the brim with frozen ready meals, which are not for free, but that can be obtained at whole sale prices.
To add to these physical wellbeing efforts, the large cafeteria features a quiet corner where a large massage chair appears to be in frequent use.
Another novelty for me is a whole floor dedicated for the accommodation of the dogs of all team members. With most employees being dog owners (of often two or three sizable dogs) this is an important perk not a lot of other employers can offer. As a result the number of staff dogs frequently surpass the number of canine patients.
So now I have a house, a decent place to work at and what was still missing?……a car to get around with!
As I had not traveled with my own car that far North at this time of the year, I had insisted that this was a basic requirement, considering the distances that have to be covered in this part of the world. However, I had also indicated that I wouldn’t care what car I would get, as long as it was somewhat reliable and as long as it featured some heating.
What I asked for, I got and admittedly it was love at first sight !…..
When asking Markus at the end of the day about by “Porsche”, he presented me with a key with a fob for “The Beast” – the clinic’s all purpose mini-van!
This car, which was certainly not a head turner, featured everythingI needed :
Decent tires with spikes (!), an engine heater (hence the fob on the key ring) for a reliably working diesel aggregate, a working radio permanently set (by me) on a local station that was playing the best rock music of the Seventies to the Nineties and a large loading bay that would later become handy for my skis. The cracked windscreen and the odd dent in the body work I considered as an additional plus, as it was indicating that this was a working vehicle and not a show room car. I much appreciated though that the dodgy brakes which apparently were also a perennial feature of this carriage had just been fixed.
So someone over here was interested in me staying alive – at least for the duration of my stay…