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Dutch nursing students conclude adventure

Two Dutch nursing students got a taste of campus life in North America as they also learned more about the U.S. medical system.

During their time in Sioux Center, Dutch nursing students Maaike Ebbers and Dirk De Groot relished the snow, enjoyed on-campus living, and appreciated the variety of opportunities doing an internship in a small hospital gave them.

During their time in Sioux Center, Dutch nursing students Maaike Ebbers and Dirk De Groot relished the snow, enjoyed on-campus living, and appreciated the variety of opportunities doing an internship in a small hospital gave them.

Dirk De Groot and Maaike Ebbers, students at the Reformed University in Zwolle, a sister institution with whom Dordt collaborates in the Netherlands, spent three months living on campus, participating in the senior ethics seminar in Dordt’s nursing program, and observing in the Sioux Center Community Hospital and Health Center. Their visit was coordinated by Dordt’s nursing department, who served as advisors during their stay. It was one of several internships that De Groot and Ebbers are required to complete for their training.

“It was good to be able to see all of the departments in one hospital,” says Ebbers. In the Netherlands, where towns and cities are so close, there are no small rural hospitals. People go the large city hospitals where there is more specialization, De Groot and Ebbers say. They especially appreciated the opportunity it gives nurses to know their patients better.

“We saw a lot more different types of things in this internship than we would have in a larger hospital,” says De Groot. Ebbers adds, “If something interesting was going on in the hospital, someone would come and get us so that we could observe. Everyone knew we were there and wanted to help us learn.”

“Nursing practices are very similar, even if things are set up differently,” says De Groot. But they did notice differences. One is the amount of paper work nurses in the United States are required to do. Another is the role of home health care. Patients stay in the hospital for less time in the Netherlands, but they all receive home health care after they go home and for as long as needed.

De Groot and Ebbers were required to write several papers about what they learned through their experience for their instructors in the Netherlands. Although the Dutch students were not allowed to do hands-on work because of insurance issues, they considered their time here an unqualified success.

“It was a very good experience, interesting and an adventure,” says Ebbers, explaining that they do not live on campus in Zwolle but commute to classes daily. “Being able to live here and get invited into homes was so much better than coming as a tourist.”

De Groot and Ebbers have more schooling to finish when they return, but they’re looking forward to practicing as nurses. At this point Ebbers is leaning toward obstetrics, and De Groot says there’s no question about where he wants to work—as an ambulance or emergency room nurse.