Mariëlle Bartholomeus

Happily born in a nice place in good health and with the love of my parents, my life started 50 years ago. Because my mother married my dad she had to stop working and was at home with me and my younger brother. My grandmother came often by train, a trip of 5 hours…. I admired her; widow since the end of the second world war while taking care of three young kids. I respect how she managed that without ever complaining.

After highschool I wanted to help people, and therefore wanted to study medicine. Unfortunately, I didn’t get in, because in those days the Dutch system was purely a lottery. I thought maybe by doing chemistry and choosing clinical chemistry, I would be able to go work in a hospital.

But in the first year of studying I saw that the diffences with medicine were huge; I missed the connection with the patient. I stopped and started an internal education in the hospital for technician in clinical neurophysiology. It was a great time, learned a lot, had my own apartment and met my future husband…. But I thought I wanted to do more…. wanted to become a medical doctor.

I tried several times and luckily the fourth time, after a year of studying biomedical health science, I was able to get in to medicine. As a young women of 25, I met a lot of young girls who became friends for life. I married before my internship, and my husband got a job nearby.

During those years we were very happy together but, unfortunately, had a couple of miscarriages. After several years doing my internship I gave birth to our oldest son (now almost 20 years old). With love the next pregnancy came soon… with that I applied for the job of trainee neurologist, and got it. We have got 4 beautiful healthy kids, and as an aunt I love my nieces and nephew as if they were my own kids.

I was happy and for five years I participated in the board of the Duth society of Neurology. I found out that hospital, health and the way we act as medical doctors were so connected with politics and health insurances. And that we have to make time for a good conversation with everyone including our patients. Meanwhile my hospital wanted to change and I was asked to build up a logistic capacity system inside the hospital.

I really wanted to do my best for all our patients, not the neurological patients alone. I followed leadership program and was very happy to get the opportunity to become a medical director. Now I work as both a neurologist and medical director of Bernhoven Hospital in Uden.

Why I am telling you my life story? Just to let you know that you always have to follow your dreams and visions. Do what your heart tells you to do, believe in yourself and never give up. Was everything easy? No, of course not! So I think we all have to help each other, and learn from each others mistakes. Life is learning.

What I have learned is to be yourself, honest and with integrity, don’t act like you are someone else but be yourself, be authentic. Help one another and don’t forget to live. Enjoy life! By the way I wasn’t only learning and working.

Never forget your family and friends. Never forget who you are and what you want to achieve and ask for help, you will never walk alone.