What does Vikki exactly do at the hospital? Especially if you are a physiotherapist you might be curious.

My job as a physiotherapist at Diospi Suyana is a lot different from what it used to be in the Netherlands. I have had the privilige to come and reinforce the team at Diospi consisting of two colleagues. My tasks are: working with the patients who visit the hospital and as ‘ jefa’ (team leader) improve the quality of the physical therapy as well as increase awareness about it in the hospital.

Me in my hospital outfit

There was not a lot of familiarity with what physiotherapy exactly is. Neither inside nor outside the hospital. That is changing now, partly because I went to talk to the doctors and other paramedics to let them know what we do and what patients they can refer to us. Thanks to the open atmosphere and direct communication within the hospital a doctor can always walk in for a question or discuss a patient over lunch. Recently we started a two-weekly talk on physiotherapie on the radio station of Diospi Suyana. During these talks we offer information about various disorders so people learn about prevention and treatment of these disorders.

Last week I was invited to a club of mothers and babies of 0-6 months to tell something about the motoric developments of the baby in this age and also to give advice about for example the position of the hips. Afterwards I heard from the leaders that the participants really appreciated that I had also taken our son Simeon with me.

Mothers with babies club

Improving care entails thinking about the coaching of my two colleagues and introducing new tests and protocols. The physical therapy room as well as the the material need to be adapted for this purpose. Recently we have also welcomed a new colleague specialised in children with 15 years of experience to our team. A real reinforcement! 

As there currently is no neurologist in the hospital and as neurology is one of my specializations in physiotherapy, I like to introduce neurological screening and testing to my colleague physiotherapists but also to doctors and nurses .

That is all very nice but it also comes with the necessary challenges. I work together with different cultures which is not always easy. Not only in the contact but for example also in the reporting. When I note a muscular force of MRC 4, the German traumatologist does not know what that means. Also help solve problems among colleagues as a team leader is not always easy. Learning how the hospital works and what the rules are for holidays, sick leave, etc. for my colleagues there is also a challenge. With regard to the latter, I am very grateful that my dear husband Steven is in charge of the administration of the hospital. I then walk up and ask him my question (or if necessary during dinner I can also ask!)

And what about the mission and evangelization at work?  Patients know that they are coming to a Christian missionary hospital so there is openness about this. Most of the patients I see only once or at least not often because they come from other places in Peru. Personally I try to go to the morning service every day that I work because many patients go as well. In this way I am prepared for questions that a patient might have about something that was said or sung. Some women are also very open about their stressful, violent or poor home situation. This often comes up when the health issue is stress related. This gives me the opening to talk about the hope and peace that only God can give.

I have been in maternity leave since early August because of the birth of our son Simeon and early December I go back to work. I have many ideas of what I can do at the hospital. New enthusiasm!