Working in healthcare is as fun as you make it

Anyone who breaks a bone as a child will remember it for the rest of their life. For some children, like Nicole Roozeboom, it even changes their life. She broke her elbow in a schoolyard accident as an eight-year-old girl and ended up in hospital. She knew it immediately; she wanted to work there later.

“The pleasant atmosphere, getting bandaged …it made such an impression that I knew for sure”, she says years later, when she has a moment to tell her story during one of her busy days as a casting technician at ZGT in Almelo. She studied nursing at the ROC van Twente, then worked in home care for a while and started at ZGT in 2007. “I started working here as a doctor’s assistant. It was very nice, but things fell into place when I ended up in this position in the plaster room.” Her employer offered her the opportunity to train as a casting technician, and she has been working in the plaster room since 2009.


For Nicole, her job has everything that makes working in healthcare great. “I love hectic work”, she says. “Every day in the plaster room is different. Sometimes you help an eighty-year-old woman with a broken wrist; other times, a child whose foot got caught in the spokes on the back of a bicycle. We see people of all ages here. We also have to be able to switch quickly. As a casting technician, you only see patients for a relatively short time, but I see it as a challenge to make everyone feel at ease during that time. 
We often work together with other disciplines and departments: trauma surgeons, plastic surgeons, rehabilitation doctors, wound nurses, assistant physicians and the emergency department. We work in a small, well-matched team.”

Flexible training

As in the rest of healthcare, ZGT’s plaster room is struggling with a staff shortage. The hospital, therefore, works with some temporary staff members and started a partnership with MST in Enschede. “We have been training several new casting technicians who work at both hospitals during their training”, says Nicole. “We chose to cooperate with each other because we cannot guarantee the supervision of students due to staff shortages. The casting technician course is a CZO-recognised course: CZO flex level, made up of EPAs (Entrustable Professional Activity, ed). Students can complete their training faster by choosing which EPAs are needed for their workplace. And when a student is declared competent for a specific work task, they can immediately do so in practice without supervision. This can also make things faster.”

“Flexible training is now part of how ZGT works. You train people to work for your own organisation. A big advantage of that is that they already get used to the hospital during their training.

Empathy and responsibility

The workload in the hospital is not (yet) disruptive for Nicole, but she is thinking about possible solutions besides flexible training. “I think part of the solution lies in changing the system. I see many MBO graduates who, if you ask me, are being short-changed because they do not have an HBO degree. We, as employees, also need to show how much fun working in healthcare can be. You do need to be the right type of person for it; you need to work hard and have empathy and a sense of responsibility. We have to show that anything is possible in our profession; I always say you make your own work worthwhile. Immerse yourself in a field that appeals to you. It’s very rewarding work.”

Nicole also enjoys taking up new projects besides her work and training people. “I just finished my ‘practical trainer in healthcare’ training, and I am now responsible for a pleasant learning climate and the training policy around in-service training for different disciplines. We are also running a pilot on communication with children”, she says. “We are able to treat them better and make everything less stressful by paying attention to the language we use and using new inventions. Wonderful to see.”

Friends and quiet environment

Working in the hospital cannot be hectic enough for Nicole, but she prefers a quieter environment in her private life. For her, that peace and quiet is precisely why she never thought about leaving Twente, not for her studies and not for her work. “I come from Sint Isidorushoeve and was born in Hengevelde. I always thought I did not want to live in a small village, but when my Husband Roann and I lived in Haaksbergen and were looking for a bigger house, we ended up back in Hengevelde. Many of our friends live there, and it’s great to grow up in a small village for our children Max (aged 10) and Bo (aged 8). We sometimes take them to a city to show them a bit of what the world is like there because they need to learn that too, but we want the safety and familiarity of Twente for our children, just like it was for us.”

Contact information

ZGT (Ziekenhuisgroep Twente)
Postbus 7600
7600 SZ Almelo
+31 (0)88 7087 878

Global Goals

Date: 17 July 2023 |

Source of tekst: ZGT, Nicole Roozeboom |

Author: Maaike Thüss

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