Esther Veenstra

“People are so happy that you’re there. I often get thanked some thirty times a day!”
Esther Veenstra
student Nursing

If someone had a splinter, it was Esther Veenstra (31) that, as a young girl, would be first to run and help. It wasn’t until years later when she herself ended up in hospital that she found out that nursing was her calling.

Animal care

As a young girl, looking after others was in her blood, and yet Esther chose a different direction. “After finishing secondary school, I started a course in horse husbandry but soon switched to primary school teacher training. A year and a half later, I realized I didn’t want to be a teacher, and I decided to do an accelerated study in animal and veterinary care. It was during this programme that lecturers saw I had the potential to teach and so I was asked to teach in higher professional education. I’d rolled into education after all. Although I really liked the contact with the students, I still wasn’t sure that this was where my passion lay.”


During her second pregnancy Esther ended up on sick leave – and that was when she found her calling. “I had hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which simply means you are extremely sick every day of your pregnancy. I ended up in hospital seven times because of dehydration and while I was lying there, watching all those nurses running round doing their work, I thought how exciting and diverse it was. I wanted that too. It was almost spellbinding. In retrospect, I realize I’d wanted to be a nurse since I was 16, but I hadn’t done the right subjects at school and didn’t think it was meant to be. When I got the chance to try out flexible studying, it became a lot more appealing to combine family and study.”

A taste of healthcare

“I’m only in my first year of the course and I haven’t regretted a moment yet. It’s hard going but I’m enjoying it so much, I’m always motivated to do the studying. The most remarkable thing I’ve learnt so far is that a medical diagnosis is not only made by a doctor, but also by a nurse. For instance, a person might be diagnosed as having Alzheimer but as a nurse, you could also diagnose that the person has a lack of self-care. This doesn’t mean then that you take all the care on, but that you make sure the patient gets support. What I really like about this study is that you get to find out what really suits you. Like now, I’m working in home care and I get so many different kinds of questions. Ultimately, I see myself working in a hospital – it’s the dynamics that draw me. But which specialism and what ward… that’s something I still need to work out.”

Role play

In addition to being a student and future nurse, Esther is also a wife, mother and daughter. “Sometimes it’s like I’m in a role play: one day I’m a mum, the next I’m a student. With an infant and a toddler at home it can be tough. Plus, I want to finish my studies more quickly, in 3 years if I can,” laughs Esther. “It’s sometimes pretty taxing but I know what I’m doing it for – especially after my experience in home care. People are so happy that you’re there. I often get thanked some thirty times a day!”

Turn your ambitions into reality

Do you sometimes also have a niggling voice in your head? If you would like to find out if studying part-time is right for you, come to one of our information events (in Dutch).

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