Case Study: a year in Australia - part one

Case Study: a year in Australia - part one

One of our fantastic Doctors just returned home to Sweden after a year in Australia working for CareFlight. He and his family had a wonderful time in Townsville and he developed a cutting edge emergency response skillset that he has now taken back home with him.

He has written about his experiences for us. In this part he has written about his decision to head abroad and the registration process. In part two he writes about his time in Australia.

We felt that it would be good to share the journey that some of our Doctors undertake to give you a real insight into the process, so we have developed our Case Study blogs, we hope you find them valuable.

If you are interested in learning more, you can search our available jobs or download our Doctors Guides for more detailed information on living and working in the regions we recruit to.


How to become a skilled prehospital Doctor in Sweden? Well, go to Australia!

My name is Christer Oldin. I have been working as an in-hospital Consultant Anaesthetist for almost eight years. Responsible mostly for the Orthopaedic Operation Ward, I’ve always had a special interest in the prehospital field but unfortunately, very little real experience due to the kind of prehospital organisation we have in my county where aeromedical retrieval is non-existent.

A chance for a change

By chance I noticed an ad from Head Medical in the Swedish Medical Journal. Through this I found Head Medical’s homepage and an easy accessible list of the area of interest for me; aeromedical retrieval jobs. A very fortunate coincidence was that most of the available spots were in Northern Queensland, Australia. Take my wife and two kids to Australia for a year? Leave my job, house, friends and relatives for a life on the other side of the world? - Yep, let's try! I'll have the discussion with the family later. I quickly filled in the form and attached a short CV and sent it to Head Medical through the homepage. I then told my wife who immediately started to look for places to stay. No problem there! The kids aged 9 and 11 at that time, didn't really understand but after telling their friends, whose reaction was: “ooooh cool!” they loosened up and started to look forward to the adventure.

Shortly after sending in my application Head Medical contacted me over phone from Scotland and this was the first of many, many, calls and discussions before we were ready to leave Sweden.

Death by paperwork

Applications, AHPRA, IELTS English test, Medical exam, CV writing in a standardised structure, Visa applications, and more. All this and at the same time keep up regular working hours, trying to prepare for leaving Sweden, renting the house, terminating phones and electricity just to mention a few practical things. The paperwork is a full-time job and without the AMAZING and, at least for me, absolutely necessary help and support from Head Medical it would have been very hard to navigate in the jungle of forms, certificates and contacts with different authorities.

In most cases Head Medical pre-filled the forms and highlighted the boxes for me to fill out which was enormously time-saving. The most time consuming aspect ended up being getting in contact with the correct person at an authority, the one who actually understood and knew what paperwork I was looking for.

An international interview

The interview with CareFlight was EARLY in the morning due to the time difference. My advice for the interview is to be humble and don’t worry. They want to get to know you and your basic attitudes towards medical work in general and team work in particular. They also want to know which location you are interested in. My primary interest was the variation and chance of to do all modalities of aeromedical retrieval; helicopter, RFDS fixed wing and international retrieval with the Jet. Brisbane or Townsville? As my wife visited Northern Queensland many years ago and got to love the place so that choice was not too hard, Townsville it is!

Visa issues

Visa application for Australia is done online and is not too hard to do. However, it seems like everyone is going through the same horror as the Temporary Work visa subclass 457 is almost never finalised and approved by the time you put your feet on the ground in Australia. In our case Head Medical worked 24/7 to arrange for a last-minute tourist visa for me and my family on the day we left Sweden as our work visa was not yet approved. It worked out fine and once again we were very grateful for the hard work Head Medical put in for us. We were a bit worried to begin with because the children were not allowed to start school on a tourist visa but three days later we were relieved to get the message from Head Medical that everything was in order.

Thank you so much Christer for your insight into your journey!

Be sure to read part two about living and working in Australia.

If you would like further information on CareFlight opportunities in Australia, contact Sharon Dodds on +44 (0)131 240 5266 or email

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