Health For Members

Six essential words you need when speaking to a doctor in Norway

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Six essential words you need when speaking to a doctor in Norway
These key words will make conversations with medical professionals in Norway easier. Pictured is a doctor using a computer. Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash "

If you're visiting a GP in Norway, knowing a few important words and phrases will help you converse effectively in Norwegian. 


Nailing down a few keywords in a second language can make a number of everyday activities and important matters that much easier and stress-free, as well as helping you put your existing skills and proficiency to good use. 

Communicating with doctors, nurses, and medical professionals is one of the many situations where knowing a few essential technical words can really complement your existing conversational ability. 

We've put together an outline of some of these words, their meanings and the context in which you might use them. If there's anything important you think we've missed, let us know

READ ALSO: Five essential words you need when renting a home in Norway


This most literally means "doctors hour" but more accurately translates to a doctors appointment. The current GP scheme in Norway allows everyone to choose their own doctor, who acts as patients' main point of contact with the health service. Your GP is also responsible for your primary medical needs, and you are allowed to change your doctor twice a year.


You'll need to use this word å bastille en legetime, to book an appointment, or å avbestille en legetime, to cancel an appointment. 


If you're afraid of needles, look away because blodprøve means blood test in Norwegian. So you won't want to hear the phrase å ta en blodprøve, to take a blood test, if you don't like the sight of blood or needles make you feel faint. 

Another test you could be referred for is a urinprøve, or urine sample. 


Not to be confused with the English word receipt, which is kvittering in Norwegian, resept means prescription. 

If you're asked about medications by a doctor or pharmacist, this word will be one to keep a keen ear out for or use yourself. 


Symptomer is the plural of symptoms in Norwegian, and you'll be asked about this when seeing a doctor. 

Here's a list of common symptoms in Norway that you can use so you and your doctor can pinpoint issues more specifically.

Hodpine- headache

Hoste- cough 

Feber- fever

Utslett- rash

Svimmel- dizzy

Smerte- pain 

Kvalme- nausea



sykemelding is a doctors note which signs the patient from work and places them on sick leave. So, for example, if your job involves lots of physical activity or using your hands and you break your arm, you'll be issued a sykemelding until the arm heals.

Sick leave is paid through the National Insurance Scheme for up to 260 working days or 52 weeks to the sum of 100 percent of one's pensionable income. 

Another rule to be aware of is that employees are allowed to stay off for three consecutive days through sickness without a legeattest, which is a doctors certificate saying you were ill for those days. This is different from sick leave, however. 


Depending on which side of the Atlantic you hail from, these words can be used for accident and emergency (A&E), casualty, or the emergency room. 

Despite meaning the same thing, you should be aware of the difference between the two. 

If your injuries or illnesses are serious, for example, severe chest pain, you'll need to go to an akuttmottak, which are in hospitals, or sykehus, which deal with the most severe medical needs. 

If it's slightly less severe, but you need to see a doctor urgently, say you have cut yourself, you will need to go to the legevakt. 

All municipalities in Norway must have a legevakt, but not all municipalities will have an akuttmottak. 



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also