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.”
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).