interviews Jörg Axel Bohl, a German physician working in Norway. We wanted to know his motivations, his working conditions and we wanted him to  give some advice on how to develop in the best way in this sector. 

Why did you decide to become a physician ?

I think that I was already knew as a child that I wanted to become a doctor.

There is high Numerus clausus on the studies for medicine. Did you have problems to enter?
No, I was quite good at school, enjoyed the learning and didn`t have to work extra hard to achieve the numerus clausus (NC). I have to admit that at that time studying was different at school than it  is now and I had to work quite hard to pass the exams at University later. So, things can change when you enter university and to pass the NC does not mean you automatically pass your studies.

Which university did you choose and why?

I chose first the university that was closest to the town I came from (Univ. Mainz in Germany), but then I wanted to change and moved to a smaller place with a smaller university: Ulm in the South of Germany.

drug-1842734_640Do you think that Germany is outstanding in medicine studies? Which countries are educating better doctors?

I don`t think that Germany is outstanding, but it is quite good. I can evaluate today the quality of health care from the perspective as a specialist and today in European countries all patients have more or less the same possibility for treatments due to international working groups for specialists. The study of medicine today should  better prepare candidates for their life as a doctor, either as clinical doctor or as general practitioner or  scientifically working doctors. As far as my studies are concerned  we studied more theoretically than practically.  The human and psychological part is sometimes missing in the lectures. How we should communicate bad news to the patient etc..

Why did you decide to leave Germany for Norway?

I was in a situation of unemployment in my education for specialist in  Internal medicine since at my time short time contracts were quiet common. I heart about this project in Norway that the Health Department was searching especially Health personal from all over Europe inclusive Medical doctors. My decision was not only a necessity for getting a job but also the wish to go abroad and live in a different culture for a while.

Do you think that it was the right step for your professional career?

Yes, it was the right step. I became what I wanted to become, I specialiced in Internal Medicine and Hematology and that went straight and uncomplicated. It is difficult to imagine what would have happened, if I hadn’t left Germany.  You are quite well respected here as a foreigner.

trondheim-2074289_640 Do you think of going back to Germany or to another country?

I still have my problems with the climate and  the infrastructure in Norway as far as city life is concerned. At least 70% of all people live outside of villages and cities in rural areas. As real european cities you only find Bergen, Trondheim, Oslo, Tromsø, Stavanger, so quite few.  But you need cultural life like concerts, theater etc.
I would like to spend more time  in another country one day, but i still have time for decisions.

How important are language skills in your profession?

Good language skills are necessary if you work with people and it is even more necessary if the people are sick. It is necessary to understand them and for you to be understood. I can`t imagine to live permanently in another country without knowing the language.

What has changed in your profession in the last 20 years?

People are better informed via internet, use of data programs have a vital role for the work as a doctor.  People live longer and better medication with better tolerance is available even for rare diseases like in hematology.

How will medicine and its studies change in the future according to your opinion?
I expect  for the upcoming  two decades  more possibilities will come up for patients to get treated at home or by their general practitioner. Telemedicine will be more in use.
førde sentralsykehusWhat would you recommend young students that want to become a doctor?
First of all do not study too intensely, take part as much as possible in private activities. Do not decide too early what specialist you want to become, you can change your interests a lot of times. You  have to work in different departments before you really know what you want.
How important is money in your profession? 
Your income is average, many hospitals do not pay you for extra hours, so be prepared to be paid well, but not very well.

norway-2144025_640ABOUT JÖRG AXEL BOHL 

1987 – 1994:   studies in Germany, one year abroad in Bologna visiting lectures at the Medical University

1994 – 1996:  practice as medical doctor  in Germany with one year of Internal Medicine.

1998 – 1999:  general practioner in Norway

1999 – 2000:  Medical Department Stokmarknes / Norway

2000 – 2005:  Medical Department Bodø /Norway and first part of specialisation hematology

2006 – 2008  Hematological Department University Bergen second part of specialisation hematology

since 2009  specialist hematologist at Førde Hospital / Norway.