Group Photo, Janina with Colleagues
Janina Kaarre is second from the right in the photo.

She is doing her residency in the US with a medical degree from Gothenburg


Doing a “residency” in orthopaedics in the United States is an unattainable dream for many newly qualified American doctors. Now Janina Kaarre, with a medical degree from Gothenburg, has landed one of the coveted spots at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).

Portrait of Janina Kaarre
Janina Kaarre

Janina Kaarre has an international background to say the least. She grew up in Finland, spent an exchange year in Portugal, and studied medicine in Gothenburg. She is now continuing along the same path with a residency in the US.

“I am very happy here. I feel that I have been given an incredibly good opportunity, which I did not think would be possible for me. There are very competent surgeons here and the volume of operations is high. I am looking forward to helping patients and becoming a skilled surgeon,” says Janina Kaarre, when I meet her in a video call from across the Atlantic.

Job satisfaction

“It is an ambitious and demanding environment,” she says. Junior doctors work very hard, especially during the first two years, when they spend at least 80 hours a week at the hospital, plus the time needed to study for the various compulsory exams.

“It will be a lot of work and a lot of studying, at least for the first few years. The hard work will all pay off later, when I can become more independent as a doctor,” she says:

“I like the hard-working culture here. Everyone supports each other, nobody is jealous but are happy for each other’s progress. There is also a nice mix in my class, with different ethnicities and backgrounds.

Eventually, she might consider doing her fellowship in sports medicine or back surgery but is open to other choices. The fellowship is the additional specialization that follows the residency. Her sights are then set on remaining working in the United States.

Group photo, Janina with colleagues
Janina (at the front) appreciates her colleagues.

Combined AT and ST

Residency can be described as a combination of the Swedish system’s internship (AT) and residency (ST). Together with the other residents in her group, Janina Kaarre will now undertake five further years of supervised clinical training, specializing in orthopedics.

“It is a very popular specialty, and there is a lot of competition to obtain a residency in orthopedics. In the whole of the United States, there are not even a thousand positions, and only a few go to non-Americans each year,” says Janina Kaarre.

She obtained her medical degree in 2022, and since then she has been a PhD student at the Department of Orthopedics at the Institute of Clinical Sciences, with Professor Kristian Samuelsson as her primary supervisor. For the past year, she has been traveling back and forth between Gothenburg and Pittsburgh, where her co-supervisor, Professor Volker Musahl, heads a prominent center within sports orthopedics: UPMC Sports Medicine Center. Her thesis is almost complete, and she plans to defend it at the University of Gothenburg next spring.