Dordt College News

Dordt nursing students intern in The Netherlands

May 24, 2010


 During their four-month stay in the Netherlands, they learned to say “Goedemorgen!” but often heard “Good morning!” in return—from staff and even some of those living at “Het Zonnehuis”—an assisted-living /advanced-care facility in Stadshagen, near Zwolle. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students Melodie VandenBorn and Nicole Top, who lived with Dutch host families in Zwolle from January through April, were back to Dordt College’s campus in time for their pinning ceremony and graduation in early May.

They were first of a kind for the Gereformeerde Hogeschool (GH) in Zwolle, with whom Dordt College has a reciprocal agreement. “They were our first foreign interns,” reported Robertha Langenberg, the GH coordinator for healthcare education. “Every year we send scores of our own students to other countries, but we have never hosted foreign nursing students here. It took a little doing, but with arrangements now in place, we look forward to continuing this initiative.”

Melodie (on the right) and Nicole, both with Dutch roots, appreciated that this internship allowed them to compare the healthcare system in two countries. “You can’t say that the one or the other is better,” says Melodie. “There are differences. For example, by us most people eat in large dining rooms, sometimes thirty at a time. Here meals are usually served in the individual’s home-space.” Team manager Monique Middlekamp, who along with Jur Oosterhoff advised these Dordt students, adds, “We also get the people involved when preparing their meals. That way they are reminded of their food’s aroma and color.”

Melodie and Nicole worked a few days per week in Het Zonnehuis and also took SPICE courses (Dordt’s Study Program in Contemporary Europe) at the GH. “What struck me,” noted Nicole, “was that nurses do more here. In the States one person does baths and another takes care of medications, but here a nurse does all of these things.” Jur agreed, “We try to have as few different faces around the bed as possible. That way the inhabitants feel safer.”

Roberta and co-worker Liesbeth Geuze are appreciative of the support provided by Zorgcombinatie Zwolle: “It obviously takes an extra effort on their part, also to communicate in English, but this first experience has been positive all-around. Hopefully more of Dordt’s nurses will be able to take advantage of this opportunity.”

NOTE:  This story orginally appeared in a Dutch newspaper and was translated by Dr. John Kok at Dordt College.

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