“When I came to the Netherlands with my mother and my Dutch stepfather 25 years ago, I had to learn the language first. So I started secondary school four years later than the rest. When I finished five years later, I didn't really know what I wanted to do next. My grandmother said one day: "You are so sweet, you should become a nurse." I didn't want that because I didn't like needles. I thought they were scary. And look where I work now,” she laughs. “Using needles turned out to be one of the most interesting things to do.”
“Both the Dutch culture and my work in nursing have been very good for me. In the Philippines we are less direct, but here you really have to learn to express what you want and to be able to express your limits. As a result, personally I have grown enormously and got to know myself better.”
“Half of our patients have Covid at the moment. They are in individual isolation rooms. We have to check in with them often. You have to be careful, because Covid is so unpredictable. There is no ‘normal’ course with this disease. One moment you think someone is improving, a few hours later it's going downhill again.”
“We also take care of other lung patients and people with some other conditions. I do think that it sometimes seems as if people wait a long time with their complaints before seeing a doctor. They come in late and need to be cared for more intensely. And of course, there are waiting lists. Actually, at our department the beds are constantly filled with people. But compared to what we sometimes hear, there is remarkably little absenteeism in our team. It is very busy, but we are always there for each other.”
“When someone is passing, we also have to take care of the family. There are so many emotions that they sometimes forget to eat or drink. So we also pay attention to that. It can be hard for us sometimes. Especially when we lose someone.” She is quiet for a moment. “Recently, that happened twice in a single night shift. I have learned to accept it. As a team, we know that we did our very best.”
“Thank you for your endurance and good care,” I say. She smiles. “Let's hope things get a little better in 2022. Wishing you a happy and above all a healthy New Year!” Together, we leave the Alrijne hospital. It's been a long day, but she happily makes her way to her husband and three young children.