Essay on Medical Practitioner Refugee Experiences in Sweden

The issue of refugees has been a global concern which needs to be addressed by finding its main course and the strategies to help the oppressed. There exist different definitions of the terminology, but Katarina Mozetič prefers a unique approach of described refugees as victims of the conflict. Further, she refers to them as people who are out of their social, personal, and political histories. Sweden is described as having a few domestic doctors based on minimal training programs and high population growth. Thus, this is outlined as the primary cause for the recruitment of foreign professionals. The thesis contributes significantly to the understanding of refugees and foreign physicians, hence massively adding to the theoretical debate in migration studies.

Mainly, Katarina Mozetič’s thesis is aimed at exploring the experiences of non-European physicians who travelled to Sweden as refugees. The study also accounts for spatial and social movement as well as the refugee’s subjective perceptions about their wellbeing. The research questions which were being focused on Mozetič’s thesis were based on professional trajectories of refugees and how the use of non-European union doctors affects each other. Moreover, the relationship between refugees and the professional identities of non-European Union doctors was determined. The researcher also analysed the combination of refugees and highly skilled migrants and how such partnering could be mutual. Thus, the aim of this thesis is not to learn about the realities of the interviewed refugee doctors but also to examine the relationship between professionals and refugee experiences.

The study was done by conducting interviews on eight refugee doctors, but the researcher was successful in collecting data from seven professionals. Though, the author planned to conduct more interviews, resource limitations, time frame, and recruitment difficulties, constraint the scope of data collection. Also, the communication barrier between the refugee doctors and Mozetič contributed to the low number of meetings and questions answered. The interviewees had however finished their medical studies in their home country (non-European country), and some had experiences working as doctors before moving to Sweden.

The author chose to research on this particular issue because the previous publications had failed to focus on the experience of refugee professionals who instead of needing help had the expertise to assist the less fortunate. Mozetič figured out how refugee professionals were perceived when discussing topics on the labour market, integration, performance, and identity construction but sidelining the plight of refugees (Bellamy, 2011, 37). Previously researches conducted on skilled migrants defined them as labourers who were looking for better job opportunities and wellbeing. However, the analysis of professional refugee migrants was consistently overlooked. Scholars had a narrow scope by considering the refugees as poor people who only needed necessary need assistance until they travel back to their homeland. In brief Mozetič’s thesis explores new empirical material on refugee physicians. The study predominantly seeks to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be highly skilled, but prevailing circumstances compels one to be a refugee. The thesis takes a new insight on the need to analyse the refugees individually to determine their potential and talent and how they can be helpful to society.

Theoretical Framework
Katarina Mozetič’s thesis used Nicholas Van Hear’s concept of mixed migration, as well as the notion of human capital and Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of cultural and social capital. The strategy enabled him to analyse the interconnectedness of migratory and professional trajectories of non-European Union doctors who lived in Sweden. The paper captures the role of professional considerations among the seasonal moves. Human, cultural and social capital is used to account for the effect of border crossing for individuals’ careers.

To cater for the doctor’s self-understanding and their social positioning, the author used Rogers Brubaker and Frederick Cooper’s distinction between identification and categorisation, and self-understanding and social location (de Haas, 2014, 11). The author developed the two categories using Richard Jenkins’ theory on social identity, and Floya Anthias’ work on social location, which Mozetič’ captures in the notion of translocational positionality. In the thesis, she claims that the concepts of self-understanding, identification, and categorisation will enable her to use a two-dimensional picture of an individual’s identification.

The ‘conceptual eclecticism’ is not an assembly of theories but is grounded on some features. Using them in the thesis enabled the author to depict the ability to bridge the divide and in co-operating structures that frame people’s lives and the agency possessed by the individuals within the given spaces (Jenkins, 2008: 46). All of the theoretical frameworks discussed can reflect on individual choices and external forces (Jackson, 2013: 207). Thus the theoretical framework enables the author to portray the complex nature of processes that guide people’s lives and at the same time outlining the underlying regulations.

The author supports Van Hear view on how to resolve the problem of voluntary and forced migration (2009, 41; 2005, 53). For instance, he had suggested dissembling the migratory trajectory into five components which included forward movement from the place of origin or residence, an inward movement to their destinations. According to Van Hear, each of the research components has elements of coercion and volition (2005, 47). The degree of choice and compulsion is determined by dialectic interplay for what is termed as structure and agency. The author based her thesis on the philosophical perspective known as relativism. The idea is opposed to realism which assumes the existence of an objective reality that prevails independently of people’s perceptions. Relativism considers truth as a beneficial act for only those who observe and act upon it.

Research Design
The methods or procedures used for data collection and analysis as well as the variables outlined in the research problem comprises of the research design. The author presented her thesis as a historic research study. Thus, the hypothesis gathered an individual’s recollections of events and interpreted them using a suitable theoretical framework. The approach was beneficial since it provided a close-up experiential aspect of being a skilled refugee and outlines particularities of the little-explored state of existence.

The author explored the experiences of skilled refugees using qualitative data collection. Semi-structured interviews with non- European Union experienced doctors who came to Sweden as refugees were conducted while the thesis was based on a purposive sample (Creswell 2014, 189). The author targeted eight interviewees but was successful in collecting data from seven of them. One of the respondents had to be disqualified since she did not meet the essential selection criteria; she came to Sweden as a marriage migrant. The sample had four Iraqis, two Syrian and one Malaysian; three of them were female, and four were male. The interviewees aged between 26 and 57 and had lived in Sweden for 1 to 25 years.

Three interviewees lived in the Southern and two in Western Sweden; the sixth and seventh interviewees came from Eastern and northern Middle-Sweden. Four of them already worked as doctors, and three were still in the process of obtaining a Swedish medical license. The respondents studied in their respective home countries and forced out due to unavoidable circumstances, finding themselves refugees. The author claimed to have not met any of the interviewees before the commencement of the data collection process. The initial aim was to interview ten doctors with a refugee background (King, 2012, 34). Due to the recruitment difficulties, Mozetič’ was unable to conduct seven interviews in the given timeframe though the sample size obtained allowed the author to reach an adequate level of data saturation.

The researcher deployed various strategies to select the preferred interview participants given that her scope was limited to professional medical practitioners who were refugees. Notably, personal connections, establishing contact with several institutions and projects that are involved in the licensing process for non-European Union physicians and Facebook by posting invitation groups related to non-European Union doctors. Moreover, she visited the doctor’s workplaces to establish contacts with them (Bryman, 2012, 42). After the researcher found the connections and conducted the first interviews, she used a snowball sampling technique to get in touch with more interviewees.

Mozetič’ used two strategies for conducting semi-structured interviews; face-to-face and Skype. The meetings would last between 54 and 94 minutes. Two of the Skype interviews were performed with the camera on, this allowed for face to face interaction. Data collected in audio was later transcribed to enhance consistency. A digital recorder was used for face-to-face interviews, whereas the Skype interviews were recorded using a Piezo programme.

The respondents willingly allowed for the use of a standard language, English. However, one of them was not fluent, making it necessary to use Swedish, a language which was subsequently translated for data analysis. The author asked questions containing the individual’s job-related issues, migration trajectory, and how their new status as refugees influenced their life and professional practice. The semi-structured nature of the interview questions allowed the data collector to gather sufficient information (King, 2012, 9). After a close reading, the author used the Dedoose computer application for mixed methods research. The software is used for the integration of quantitative and qualitative data analysis.

Mozetič’s thesis discussed the experiences of doctors who came to Sweden as refugees. By dealing with their migratory and professional skills, her argument aimed at offering another unknown perspective on the migrants’ trajectories and their self-perceptions. Therefore, the following conclusions were made from the study; the interviewees’ refugee issues cannot be ranked alongside the simple dyad of forced and voluntary migration. However, they should rather be conceptualised in terms of mixed migratory movements, where professional considerations comprise one of the factors that shape an individual’s move. In the same manner, interviewees’ professional trajectories cannot be comprehended without acknowledging the contours which the act of migration imposed upon them.

Much as the interviewees’ migratory and professional issues intertwine, so do their self-perceptions. The profession is positively loaded and seen as a source of strength. It means providing for oneself, while at the same time actively contributing to society. Indeed, this thesis touches upon some subjects that would deserve a more in-depth investigation. The engagement and length with which the interviewees talked about the Swedish licensing process, proves that the topic deserves further research. The given thesis could also be expanded by incorporating an analysis of media, political and other public representations of refugees. Likewise, given more time and resources, it would be worthwhile to conceptualise a broader project to map not only the experiences of refugee doctors but also of the immobile doctors, as well as refugees who refrained from obtaining the Swedish medical license.
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Reference List
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Creswell, J.W., 2014. A concise introduction to mixed methods research. Sage Publications.
De Haas, H., 2014. Migration Theory: Quo Vadis? DEMIG project paper 24. International Migration Institute (IMI) Working Paper Series, (10).
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Jenkins, R., 2008. Social identity 3rd edn. Oxon: Routledge.
King, R., 2012. Theories and typologies of migration: An overview and a primer. Willy Brandt Series of Working Papers in International Migration and Ethnic Relations 3/12. Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM) Malmö University.
Van Hear, N., 2005. New diasporas. Routledge.
Van Hear, N., Brubaker, R. and Bessa, T., 2009. Managing mobility for human development: The growing salience of mixed migration.