Screaming Children and Faraway Destinations

I thought it would be nice to write something on my side job. I work at the municipal health service of my city, at the travel clinic. There, I give travelers their required vaccinations and occasionally sample blood to check for hepatitis antibodies. I started working there March last year, as a nice health-related side job, and it has actually brought me more than just some extra income. I’ve learned quite a lot there. Besides the fact that I’ve sort of become a pro in injecting intramuscular as well as subcutaneous injections, and quite good at sampling blood*, I’ve come across so many different people with different background and different characters. It has taught me even more how to communicate with people, how to get them out of their shells, how to deal with difficult people, how to deal with children**. I have made more or less serious mistakes, and learned from them. I have learned to take responsibility, and how to deal with problems. So I think I can conclude that my side job has taught me a lot of things that are useful not only for my career, but for my personal life as well. Although most people there are healthy, I think it was quite a good preparation for my rotations (starting end of October..), and a perfect side job!

* Sampling blood is an extra activity, really. I think in a regular week, when I work two or three shifts, I have the opportunity to sample blood maybe once or twice. In the 1.5 years that I work at the GGD, I’ve had quite some opportunities, but it’s not as if I work at a blood sampling service, doing it all the time. So I was quite proud when, a few weeks ago, I managed to draw blood from a man who said that even at the University  Medical Center they couldn’t hit the vein, on various occasions. Thumbs up for me, haha!

** I’ve given many, many vaccinations to children the past years. They aren’t my favorite to work with. No kidding! Especially in the evening shifts, when they are tired, I sometimes really wish I had earplugs and that the parents were more resolute. There have been shifts that were total hell because I had so many screaming, shouting, roaring, kicking children to give injections to. Those kids make work.. not fun. But I must say that there are also many children who are quite cute. In general I don’t mind babies. Of course they can scream really hard, but at least they are not already crying upon entering the room because they know (and do not approve of) what’s going to happen. There are also nice kids, who actually listen to you. They might shed some tears, but at least it’s not a fight. I’ve found that it really depends on the upbringing by the parents how the children react when they hear they need vaccinations. So, I’m quite delighted when a family comes in with children that sit down and do not complain 😉

Because I’m starting rotations in the Fall, and I’ll be travelling Argentina for a month first, it’s almost time for me to leave my side job *sad face*. Besides all the experiences I’m getting out of it, I also just like to hear the stories from the people that come in. They go everywhere, doing all sorts of things. Some come back afterwards and tell me what they’ve experienced. Those things make my work fun. Although there are a few very popular destinations (Indonesia, Thailand, Kenya, Tanzania, China), some people also mention countries I had never heard of before. And some travels really do inspire me. And some people really do inspire me. So am I going to miss the job? I think I will, to be honest…

This post was originally published on my personal blog,, but I wanted to share it with you here as well, as it’s also related to my medical life. 


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