You can always do more


Armed with ideals and a basket full of heavy books, I took my first steps through the revolving door of the training hospital.

From the age of 12 I knew I wanted to be a doctor. Making people healthy and happy.

I was completely unprepared for the fact that as a woman in the outside world I had to fight to be heard and seen. At the same time, I had to protect myself against the ‘male gaze’ (and ‘the male hands’). It was confusing to be approached as a puppet to play with rather than a pro. The clearer I stated my limits, the less I was heard.

Besides, it seemed impossible to become the doctor I wanted to be, no matter how hard I worked, no matter how hard I studied.

It would be at least another decade before I understood that it was not my inability that was the limiting factor, but that the system in which I tried to do my work kept throwing sand in the wheels. Educators, managers, politicians and health insurers determine the rules of the game in healthcare.

In this system, my patients were separate repetitive projects that had to be handled efficiently.

My colleagues and I were used as interchangeable instruments. Feelings of fear, powerlessness, overwork, failure, guilt, and sadness were taboo.

Judging by the large number of professionals currently looking to leave healthcare, the situation in 2023 seems to be even worse than in 1989, when I walked through the aforementioned revolving door.

Technique: tinted cyanotypes, printed on rice paper; analog digital.