Dennis grew up in Gothenburg. He lived there 20 years until he studied to be a doctor in Uppsala. He did his AT-service in Säffle, and when he was almost a finished district doctor around 1998, he moved to Vilhelmina. His wife is from Vilhelmina, and since Dennis is an avid lover of forrest and nature they took over the family bussiness. That is; the “Forrest Rights Estate” in Siksjöhöjden, which is a village a little ways to the west of Vilhelmina.
Dennis’ plan was to become a surgeon, but realized gradually he’d like a broader line of work. He found it in Vilhelmina by working as a district doctor in the cottage hospital there.
What’s it like working as a district doctor in a small community?
-Out here you’re always getting calls and working with multiple hings at once. The scarcity of doctors means development needs aren’t always being met. Kind of makes you wish you had time to aim yourself medically at an area that’s a bit more interesting. To name some examples, diabetes or kids. An option here is to be an active mentor, which makes it easier educating your personell, both the newcomers and the oldtimers.
Do you often know your patients personally?
-Well yes, in a small society you become “somebody” very fast. You also get to know all the other somebodies, on a surface level, at least.
-I like people and enjoy recieving neighbours and familiars as patients. In my experience knowing patients also makes them feel less shy about coming in for treatment. There has been a change overtime. Take for example, when people have physical problems. They’re not scared to discuss their pain or seek problems. I’ve met patients who say “Wait, I know you.” which I think invites a bit of reliance.
What do you think is the best thing about life up here?
– Everything’s pretty closeby. In a tiny place like Vilhelmina you find car places, employment services, ensurance offices, among other things. There’s also a load of stores in the city center within walking distance. Busses are active daily, and we have an airport pretty nearby.
-The nature too of course, it’s so nearby and it is breathtaking. It’s easy to get to know people here, and it’s easy to join in the association life. Me myself? I’m engaged in the missionary church and have a penchant for forrests.
How can we attract more people to work within healthcare in this area?
-Our main asset up here is quality. I think interns and students of medicine have a chance up here to see a lot of raw action, and experience many types of situations at a hospital. They get to work in good groups, make use of their education, since the work varies so much. It’s important that us who already live here create an environment that encourages people to move up here.