Monday, June 15, 2015


I hope I haven't kept you in suspense for the last few weeks. As I wrote on the 19th of May,
Seeing is believing!
"Godkjenning autorisasjon"
Sykepleier og jordmor
until I'm 70 years old!
"all signs point to yes" and actually later that very afternoon my name appeared on the national registry of authorized health professionals, as a godkjent nurse and midwife. It was a little anti-climactic, following a week of suspicion and hope and signs in the right direction, to be notified via an online registry, of which I had been checking pretty obsessively all day long. Erik actually called me from Belgium to tell me he had seen my name. This was not the way I had imagined being notified.  

Fortunately, I would be able to reenact the way I had always imagined being notified, as NRK (Norwegian broadcasting news) wanted to film the opening of the official letters, which did not arrive for another three days. And since it was a long three day weekend, we actually delayed the opening of the letters--and the filming--until the following Tuesday (one week after we really knew), when the news crew arrived at our house at 9am. Talk about anti-climactic! That evening, the report aired on both the regional 7pm news and the national 9pm news! Erik had even done a kick-ass live interview on NRK radio talking about my case and what it means to many others (I declined to do any non-editable interviewing in Norwegian). So that evening, after sitting on this secret for a week, we decided it was high time we celebrate and invited friends and neighbors over, opened a few bottles of champagne, ate cake and watched the news together. 
Erik testing the lighting in our kitchen before the filming
Yes,the footage you see is a bit staged. My reaction is a reflection of some good acting genes but probably more accurately finally living out the scene that I have played over and over again in my head for the last 4 years and 7 months, and some genuine emotion of finally seeing the words in print. 

We are repeatedly asked to comment on our reaction, something that we thankfully had a week to think about. We are grateful, of course, to have this nightmare behind us. I am optimistic about the future and finally being able to work in a field where I am trained to work. We are really proud of the fact that without our efforts, well, it probably would have happened eventually, but we know we were key players in getting the credit transfer system recognized. We are really pleased this will help many other health care professionals from outside of the EU work in Norway. But, I'll be honest, we are pissed as hell that this took 4 years and 7 months, cost us an unknown amount of money, and the amount of blood, sweat and tears it took--the first two mostly Erik's and the last mostly mine--to have people in places of power (politicians, academics, institutional leaders, journalists) recognize the wrongs and the see the need to right them. I know that wasn't a proper sentence, but I don't have the energy to make it into one. You get the point. So, to open a letter that says simply "Godkjent", after all that effort, time, energy, money. . . well, it's a little deflating. 

Congratulations from Erik's colleagues
One of the nursing professors that has been such a strong and influential supporter called me to congratulate me (after sending me flowers!!!) and when I tried to express my weirdly ambivalent and not entirely happy feelings, she said, "It's like you've been sitting for exams for the last 4 years, using massive amounts of energy and adrenaline to prepare and prove yourself, and suddenly it's over." 

And so that's where I've been sitting for the last month: the fight is over. I'm approved to work. I can look for a job. It's time to move on.

Below I will provide a Google translated version of NRK's written online report.
Making the news again!
"Finally she is allowed to work"
Link to NRK news report

Finally she is allowed to work

"I am relieved and happy that I finally received authorization. Now I can finally work as a midwife here in Norway", says Emily Stange.
Waited nearly five years'
Sad for Norwegian health administration- On behalf of the family Stange I am now very happy, but on behalf of the Norwegian health administration I am sad. It has long established an uncultured in this management arm, says Kjenseth.

Nothing has changedLooking ahead

There have been many rounds of applications and discounts for Emily Stange and family. When they came to Lillehammer from Vermont in 2010, thought the job was the smallest problem.
Stange has a bachelor's degree in nursing from the American-Norwegian St. Olaf College, in addition to a master's degree in midwifery and 12 years of practice. She has also taught both nursing and medical students.
But none of the applications Emily has sent to the State Authorization for Health Personnel (SAK) has been approved. They have argued that rod education has not met the formal requirements of the law.
But now Stange can work as a midwife in Norway anyway. SAK writes:
"After a new review of your education as a midwife, we consider that you meet the requirements for certification as a midwife pursuant to the Health § 48 subsection c)."
Several parliamentarians have taken up the cause to Stange. Ketil Kjenseth (V) sits in Health Care Committee and is disappointed over the process. 

THANK Emily's husband: Parliament Politicians Ketil Kjenseth (V) has been involved in Emily case and thanks her husband Erik Stange to have documented and fought against management practices in this matter.
He believes the problem is extensive and talks about a number of queries with similar experiences as Emily.
Also the Association of Norwegian foreign students ANSA react. They believe SAK wastes with high competence.
- I am very happy at Emily's behalf and for the authorization office has done that we have recommended for a long time, and now look at ECTS (credits) instead of number of hours. Now SAK should go through all similar refusal in recent years and treat them according to the same rules, says the president of ANSA, Madeleine Mowinckel.

Study and research director at the College of Gjøvik, Gunn Rognstad has supported Stange from the start. So has also has academic staff from colleges in Hedmark, Buskerud and Vestfold. "Authorization could just as easily gotten four years ago, after taking and passing a test in national health care. The main problem all the way to an unclear understanding of the calculation of the scope of the content of education between SAK, healthcare committee and health ministry about which rules should be applied to process applicants from abroad," says Rognstad.

- "We do not want to express an opinion on individual cases, but may state that some applicants of SAK was considered to satisfy the conditions for authorization after carrying out a specified period of supervised practice", says Anne Harseth Barlow in SAK.
She says that Emily Stange recently took 12 credits in geriatrics, and that this was decisive that she was granted authorization.**
- "I'm really looking forward to working with what I can and hope the work we have done can help others to get authorization on a more timely basis", says Stange.

**I haven't blogged about my 12 credits/8 weeks of geriatric clinicals that I completed in February/March and how enlightening and educational they were to my ability to work as nurse. Perhaps I should do that someday.