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Interview: prof. dr. J.B.L. Hoekstra

prof. dr. J.B.L. Hoekstra

Looking back at my career as a doctor I have one dominant feeling: I have really been a lucky dog! That sounds overdone, but it is not.

First, with my rather casual choice to become a doctor. How many professions are there in which you can be of help to somebody who really needs it? Of course there are many other very satisfactory jobs out there. But it was when I myself needed a doctor when I once more realized how extremely valuable, adequate and friendly doctors are for the patient in distress.

prof. dr. J.B.L. Hoelstra

Second, my specialization in the intriguing domain of internal medicine, and my position in a peripheral educational hospital (Diakonessenhuis Utrecht) with lots of dedicated trainees. Trainees who never ever harp, but who are always eager to learn more about medicine and who ask difficult questions every day. I cannot imagine people ever getting a burn-out when you are that lucky to teach trainees. In this peripheral hospital it appeared to be possible to do some scientific work as well, surpassing a case report or a review article. When we were finally able to deliver some PhD students, it genuinely felt as a victory.

Third, the possibility to get involved in the clinical lectures for 3rd year students in the AMC. After some years of giving lectures on my own, Gabor Linthorst, a briljant internist and educator was prepared to do the lectures together with me. Now lecturing became an extremely satisfying event: one of us interviewing the patient and the other constantly asking questioning the students: not one dull moment. We had the impression that we had developed one of the most valuable forms of education in medicine. And really, we were sure that nobody in the room was reading his mail or answering his WhatsApp messages.

So, in summary, when you are becoming a doctor, I would like to congratulate you with your choice. Forget all the horror tales by journalists about dysfunctional doctors (of course they exist but they are scarce). Do not bother about your future salary, it will surely be enough for a pleasant living. What is really relevant is that you will be having an extremely satisfying job.

Zeist, 3-1-2015

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My name is Joost B.L.Hoekstra. I was born in 1948. In 1974 I finalized my study in Medicine at the Utrecht University. As I was in doubt whether to become a general practitioner or an internist and as there was quite a waiting list for the training in internal medicine, I first did the one year training for GP’s: a most valuable period. However, I thereafter was eager to learn more of medicine, did not feel satisfied with my knowledge as a doctor and choose to go for internal medicine also in Utrecht. I registered as an internist in 1981. In 1982 I defended my thesis dealing on applications of C-peptide as a diagnostic tool.

My expertise within internal medicine is diabetology but I like an outpatient clinic of unlabeled patients (call it: general internal medicine) more than an outpatient clinic of just patients with diabetes.

In June last year I retired as a professor of internal medicine at the AMC. Now I have a part-time job as an internist in the St Antonius Hospital in Nieuwegein and I am working as a scientific officer at the academic research organization Julius Clinical in Zeist.
Previous positions were: internist at the University Hospital in Utrecht from 1981 untill 1982, and internist in the Diakonessenhuis in Utrecht where I worked untill my appointment in the AMC.
Most intriguing has been my experience within the Central Court of Discipline in the Hague, in which I served as a so called fellow professional.
My research interest is rather broad, probably too broad, and comprises clinical diabetology. In PubMed my name is connected with some 200 publications but it would be honest to say that my contribution to the vast majority has been small. In 2012 I was appointed as Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh.

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