Sarah Persson – Commuting Dietician with Research Ambition


Sarah Persson, dietist och forskare

Sarah Persson is an experienced rural citizen with roots in Norsjö. She took the Hotel and Restaurant program
during high school, it was there she discovered her interest in nutritional studies. She also has experience in living with stomach problems, which explains her passion to learn about diet. After her dietician education, she was immediately employed in Storuman while her partner stays in Skellefteå.


What’s it like living in Storuman, is it easy to get to know the people living here?

The cottage hospital is a big workplace, where one meets a lot of people. Working colleagues are keen and encourage you to join in freetime activities, Sarah explains. We have lots of opportunities for physical activities, along with an active cultural life. I participate in a choir and meet even more people there. It can be hard to get used to routines in a new place though. Where do people disappear off to after work? That’s why we’ve discussed putting together a binder containing info about what one can do here in their spare time. Why not have a welcome letter to all new inhabitants?

You live two places at once, both in Storuman and Skellefteå. How is commuting back and forth?

Because I often commute weekly by bus between Skellefteå and Storuman, I notice the difference between Skellefteå and Sorsele is that communication is significantly better, but there is a lack of connection to Storuman. It only takes an hour or less to go between Skellefteå and Storuman. If I choose the buss I usually use the time to read for my research during the trip. It was easiest to get an appartment in Stensele, so in the mornings I take walks, or bike to work. On occasion I also ski, since the ski trail goes “from door to door”. I also work in Tärnaby, twelve miles away, and in Sorsele. Seven miles from Storuman. I take public transport between the different towns.

What Subject is Your Research in?

Distance technology. How one can improve communication between the patients and medical establishment by using modern technology. 

The times I need to be in Tärnaby or Sorsele and meet patients is often when time is short, and my schedule is often fully booked so I can have time to prepare before I’m there. By using today’s technology one can arrange follow-up meetings more often, but via internet, at the nearest cottage hospital for the patient. There is also a virtual health forum in Slussfors for testing and video calls to caregivers. The general idea is to be able to sit at your computer at home, as a patient, and have video connection to the healthcare system.
The research touches on the way patient satisfaction and treatment results are affected by the system, among other things. Some future visions of distance technology are increased access, minimized stigma, and rural areas being able to offer a range of professionals in job categories where there today is only one.

What Benefits are there to Working in a Rural Area?

I’m not bound to any specific clinic, I get to be in multiple places. Reception, child central, ER, rounds, just to name a few. It makes the job ever-changing, the things I learn are both varied and numerous. To combine work with research leads to research more relevant for the current work method, but also evokes more effective improvement in my work.

How will you spread your research?

I will go through with my pilot study, and then write a D-essay to publish my findings in an article.