I was born in The Netherlands on May the 27th 1961. Following my primary and secondary education in The Hague, I moved to the south to successfully complete a 3-year vocational course resulting in a diploma in Activity Supervision in 1982
It was during my practical placements in different healthcare institutes that I became interested in a career in Nursing. In 1983 I registered at a teaching Hospital to receive the required training and obtained my diploma as a General Nurse in 1986. I took an interest in Critical Care and Anesthetics, but had to wait for a few years until I was able to enroll in a Nurse Anesthetist course, which eventually happened in 1989. I spent those years working on several critical care wards thus collecting valuable experience and skills. They proved to be of great value and certainly helped me to successfully finish my education as a Nurse Anesthetist in 1992 with required qualification.
The following 15 years I pursued my career as a Nurse Anesthetist in different hospitals, among which were a pediatric hospital, an academic teaching hospital, and a district general hospital. My work allowed to me to practice in theaters as well as a recover room nurse.
I moved to the United Kingdom in September 2000 to join my partner. After working in Manchester’s Royal Infirmary as a theatre manager, I choose to change the direction of my career and focused on Oncology. I was very fortunate and proud to be appointed in 2002 as a chemotherapy nurse In Christies Hospital, one of Europe’s main Cancer centers. I was fascinated with the work and became interested in new treatments for cancer. When the chance to become a research nurse presented itself, I successfully applied and have since then enjoyed this challenging and fascinating specialized nursing that allows me to use all the skills I previously obtained.
In 2009 I had the opportunity to move to New Zealand and take my experience and skills to a new level. Although I enjoyed my practice as a research nurse for a private company, I soon discovered my interest in chemotherapy; education and patient care would be better served in a different role.
My subsequent appointment as a staff nurse Medical Oncology at Auckland City Hospital provided me with ample opportunities, to further develop my skills, educate patients and colleagues, and use my management and organizational skills.
As Clinical Nurse Educator I was able to improve the training and skills of Chemotherapy nurses, and make a significant contribution to the New Entrants to Practice program. The latter was well received by both the organization and the staff taking part in it.
In early 2013, I resigned as Nurse Educator but remained with the Oncology service where I assisted the Charge Nurse Manager as team leader for the Radiotherapy Nurses.
After eleven years as an Oncology Nurse, I came to realize that I needed time away from the pressures of Oncology. Senior colleagues had told me they also had benefited from a break. I decided to accept a job as an occupational health nurse, and enjoyed the work outside of a hospital environment, with less distressed clients.
My new experience gained in a more independent role, whilst at times, working alone in a community setting, has, provided me with stronger professional confidence. I am enjoying the newly found confidence as well as the daily variety of opportunities in a familiar Hospital environment as Occupational health and Safety Nurse for Waitemata District Health Board in Auckland.
My time away from Oncology was a refreshing experience, however my passion for working with patients with cancer has remained , and I now look forward to return to Oncology Nursing.