Alumna Cathy van Horik: 'As doctor you are always educating younger colleagues'

Photo: Marie Cecile Thijs (c)

Photographer Marie Cecile Thijs portrayed thirty alumni for the alumni platform EUR Connect. Cathy van Horik is one of them. She became a doctor, her wish is to eventually become a surgeon. 'It was my professors who, with their passion and enthusiasm, have taught me that next to knowledge, listening to patients and being empathetic are qualities that are just as important in becoming a good doctor.'

What are your fondest memories of your student days? 
'All lectures of the Medicine department were held at Erasmus MC, that way professors could easily walk back and forth between lectures and the hospital. During some of these lectures there would be a patient demonstration, where professors would bring a patient with them from their policlinic. The patient would then tell their story during the lecture. Those lectures always left a lasting impression, and the patients’ stories have always stayed with me.'

What made you want to become who you are now? 
'In high school I thought biology and the human body were the most interesting subjects. During a career-information evening, I was immensely enthusiastic after listening to an inspiring medical researcher who explained how he combined his job as doctor with academic research. It seemed like a big challenge to help people as a doctor and, next to that, be able to contribute to scientific research. That’s when I decided to study medicine.'

What does your typical workday look like? 
'Right now, I’m balancing working at a hospital and working as medical advisor at a consultancy firm. At the consultancy firm I give lawyers advice on medical damage in personal-injury cases and medical-liability cases. That basically means that I explain to lawyers how severe the injury is, how long the client will be dealing with related complaints, and if there could be further complications in the future. In contrast to many other doctors, this job means I primarily sit behind a computer. Sometimes I discuss things over the telephone with lawyers or with my supervising doctors.'
 

'To every (prospective) student I would like to say: pursue your dreams to develop yourself!'

What are your dreams? 
'I first want to develop some experience as a general practitioner at a hospital on the surgical ward. Besides that, I would like to graduate on a subject within the field of surgery. It is my deepest wish to eventually become a surgeon.'

How has your degree at Erasmus University contributed to realising these dreams?
'During my degree in medicine, lot of focus was on the study and execution of academic research. Beyond that, it was my professors who, with their passion and enthusiasm, have taught me that next to knowledge, listening to patients and being empathetic are qualities that are just as important in becoming a good doctor.'

Do you believe in developing your skills throughout life? 
'Especially as a doctor, I feel it is very important during your career to keep up to date with current literature and development. Medicine is a field that is constantly developing, which is also what attracts me to the subject.' 

What advice would you give to current and prospective students? 
'As doctor you are always educating younger colleagues. I hope that I can communicate to them my love and enthusiasm for the field. To every (prospective) student I would like to say: pursue your dreams to develop yourself, Erasmus University certainly gives you room to do so.'
 

More information

Would you like to connect Cathy van Horik or other alumni? Join EUR Connect, the platform for alumni, students and staff of Erasmus University Rotterdam.

The photo exhibition 'All Inclusive, our community in 30 portraits' from Marie Cecile Thijs runs until 28 July 2019 at the Erasmus Paviljoen (Campus Woudestein).