De­spite the pro­fes­sion’s pres­sures, car­ing for sick youngters is a ‘huge priv­i­lege’ for spe­cial­ist nurse

Rotorua Daily Post - - OUR PEOPLE -

Talk­ing to An­neke Slager is one of these great dou­ble wham­mies that come Our Peo­ple’s way from time to time.

That she’s a na­tive Nether­lan­der in­cor­po­rates her into our ever-grow­ing list of this city’s pot­pourri of na­tion­al­i­ties. Add to that she’s nursed all her work­ing life, and with these won­der­ful, car­ing peo­ple so much in the news over re­cent months, who could be more top­i­cal to home in on?

Not that An­neke shares our en­thu­si­asm. In­her­ently shy, she prefers to lurk in the shad­ows, but there are oth­ers who see it dif­fer­ently. Her name’s come our way time and time again since her re­cent re­tire­ment as a child nurse spe­cial­ist.

An­neke’s one of those treasures who’s de­voted her 42-year ca­reer putting the needs of oth­ers many miles ahead of her own.

This low-key Am­s­ter­dam-born wo­man is the type Florence Nightin­gale would have ap­plauded for the com­pas­sion she’s heaped on oth­ers; some­thing the nurs­ing founder saw as the cor­ner­stone of pro­fes­sional care.

The teenage An­neke’s ca­reer choice was im­planted in her blood­line. Her mother was a se­nior mem­ber of the pro­fes­sion.

Grow­ing up in Hol­land’s of­fi­cial cap­i­tal city (be­fore any­one ar­gues, The Hague’s its seat of gov­ern­ment) her home was im­me­di­ately be­hind the fa­mous con­cert cham­ber, there wasn’t a canal in sight, the streets were her play­ground.

Tap into her mem­ory of those days and it’s the an­nual Queen’s Birth­day cel­e­bra­tions that tops her list.

“The monarch’s birth­day is very big in the Nether­lands. Dutch peo­ple are very pa­tri­otic to the Crown, al­ways wear orange for these big events.

“I went back for King WillemAlexan­der’s corona­tion five years ago and was in­ter­viewed by jour­nal­ists who couldn’t be­lieve I’d come all that way for it but I’ve al­ways been a roy­al­ist.”

An­neke’s train­ing was the equiv­a­lent of this coun­try’s en­rolled nurse. Af­ter the two-and-ahalf years ward work that fol­lowed she thirsted for ad­ven­ture.

“I was an only child so it was hard for my par­ents but I’d heard a lot about New Zealand be­cause so many Dutch peo­ple came here af­ter the war so in the end they gave me their bless­ing.”

On her 1980 ar­rival, Vo­gel’s bread founder Hans Klisser, a close friend of her knitwear trav­eller fa­ther, took her un­der his fam­ily’s wing.

Her first post­ing was Master­ton where she had to ac­quire the ma­ter­nity and dis­trict nurs­ing know-how that hadn’t come her way in the Nether­lands.

Ma­ter­nity col­league Katie Williams (Our Peo­ple, July 30, 2010) be­came a close friend.

When she moved to Ro­torua in 1982, An­neke vis­ited for a hol­i­day.

“And just stayed. I was blown away by the ther­mal ac­tiv­ity, by the Ma¯ori peo­ple, how they lived and thought.”

Ro­torua Hos­pi­tal wel­comed her to the geri­atric unit.

“My English still wasn’t su­per duper. There was an­other Dutch girl there, and the other nurses played a lot of tricks on us be­cause we didn’t know what some things were, which meant we had a lot of laughs.”

What wasn’t so funny was the morn­ing the prin­ci­pal nurse paid a sur­prise ward visit.

“We were giv­ing the pa­tients their por­ridge in the day room.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.