How healthy is Hannah Visser?
by Eduard Schaepman, on 6 May 2021
This week, I'm talking to Hannah Visser, a very passionate internist specialising in infectious diseases. Hannah was born in Wageningen and grew up in The Hague, together with four younger sisters. Her interest in the medical profession was awakened by her uncle, who had a general practice in The Hague. His daughter, therefore her niece, was her best friend and so she often visited them. Her uncle spoke with such passion and pride about his profession that she was soon inspired (incidentally, she was not the only one, three of her sisters followed in her footsteps and are now doctors). She remembers well how fascinated she was during the first biology lesson in high school, which dealt with the functioning of the human body. The choice was clear and from then on Hannah did everything she could to pursue her dream.
When she was 18, she left for Utrecht to study medicine, and immediately went to live in a dorm room. Even then, Hannah was already interested in meaning: she wanted to belong, but not lose herself. So, no student association, but she found that connection in the choir. Performing Bach songs with as many as 80 people must have been a very special form of relaxation next to her studies. Although Hannah enjoyed every subject during her studies, she soon realised that she was most interested in how diseases work. How is it, for example, that one person gets sick and another does not? After six years of medicine, she decided to specialise as an internist, to find the answer to that question and others. Laughingly, she admits that she has not yet found all the answers but she has not lost her passion for her profession. As an internist, she has specialised in infectious diseases, and although that was a risk because the jobs were not easy to come by, she finds it a beautiful field in which you can really make people better. As an oncologist, for example, you also deal with sick people who you can't make better, but Hannah often gets that chance.
Passion & nomadic
Hannah doesn't just speak passionately about her profession, she also pursues her goals passionately. In her third year of medicine, she overturned the traditional system when she managed, in one day, to get her surgical residency in Spain. From that moment on, Hannah has lived with the thought: if you really want something, it is possible. Around her 30th birthday, she returned to Spain, where she gained even more experience. She didn’t fall in love in Spain, but when she returned home, the spark jumped with the subtenant of her house in Amsterdam, and now they have two children, aged 2 and 4.
Food for the soul
Combining her job as a doctor and her role as a mother means that Hannah has less time for active exercise than she would like. Although as a mother you move around a lot in a day and as a doctor you take a lot of steps during consultations at the bedside, Hannah is not satisfied and puts her car in the back parking space to take some extra steps. In terms of nutrition, she looks primarily for organic, pure products and tries to stay away from 'supermarket products' as much as possible. In addition to a healthy lifestyle, Hannah considers food for the soul important, by which she means relaxation and getting away from the hustle and bustle. In her work, she sees that many people are unable to do this because of the corona crisis: visiting a museum or theatre, for example, has not been possible for a long time, while this can contribute to health. For that reason, she is now also a member of a doctors' covid collective, which discusses the proportionality of measures.
Health an 8.5 and happiness a 9
She gives her health an 8.5, and expresses the wish to be able to do more sport when the children are older. She rates her happiness a 9, and expresses that she feels blessed with her life. Her tip is to actively relax and look for food for your soul!