Beyond the scientist: Hester Vermeulen


Where and when were you born?

Oostzaan which is a small village connected to Amsterdam. I came 2 weeks early, so my mother couldn’t go to the hospital anymore.. it was on the 15th of August back in 1967.

Where do you live and with whom?

During weekends in Purmerend (flat, light and meadows) and during the week in Berg en Dal (hilly, shady and bushy).  I live with my partner Coos and just for a little while with my daughter Maaike and son in law Tom. They are moving out within two weeks to their own ‘little palace’ as they call it on their house warming invitation.

Who was your role model when you were a kid?

I don’t remember having one as a child. During my traineeship as a nurse I had several supervisors which I admired for their technical skills, multitasking or patient centeredness. In a later stage of my career I met Dink Legemate, who became thereafter my PhD supervisor.

Why aren’t you doing the same thing now as your role model (or do you?)

His integrity, scientific passion and willingness to let others grow, has shaped me.  Nowadays I’m a role model to many talented nurses and other healthcare professionals. Every time when they acknowledge that in wordings of  ‘being an inspirational example’, ‘you are our queen on EBP’, ‘your ability to bond and create an harmonious working climate’, I feel very honored and on the right track.

What is the thing in your work history that you are most proud of?

I’m proud about many things, probably the most about my ability to create an seize opportunities. An academic career pathway for a nurse is rare. Many hurdles are on the way, because it is not a paved road for a nurse. So I’m proud of what results I have achieved.  But I especially ‘walk as a peacock’ when I can assist someone on this bumpy road and they suddenly go and grow. 

And ‘last but not least’ I’m proud of my daughter for being who she is.

What is it that you would like to achieve in work in the next 5 to 10 years?

I’d like to achieve that all kind of healthcare professionals work interprofessionally to deliver excellent, safe, effective and patient centered care. Therefore the contribution of each profession to that team effort needs to be valued. Within the next years I want to empower nurses to grab their role within this team effort, by initiating practice-relevant research about essential nursing activities and a professionalization program.

Furthermore within the next five years I would like to establish a clinical career pathway for nurses, in which patient care is combined with academic tasks. This way we can cultivate talent, which can be positioned in the thereafter following 5 years within the academic centers.

For what can we wake you up?

Coquilles! I love them seared, but also raw with some soy sauce. 

What is your hobby and how good are you at it?  

I play tennis (just above average), cook (quite excellent), going out for dinner (excellent), travelling (good). As to the latter, there is always room for improvement. My bucket list remains challenging… because I don’t stop adding new place I would like to explore.

What is your biggest irritation?

Grandiloquence and power-play followed by control and bureaucracy.

Who would you like to invite for dinner, if you had the chance?

Jonny en Therese de Boer on their own table in their own restaurant De Librije and talk about cooking, but also how their vision and how they realized that.

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