Last spring, a nursing position opened at the Houghton Student Health Center. That position has been fulfilled this semester by Heidi Huizenga. As a registered nurse for at least 20 years, Huizenga continues to share her diverse professional experience and enthusiasm for patients with the Houghton community.
“It is a great privilege to be part of this community! I hope to be a good listener and to share God’s grace and love as I interact with students and coworkers. I am particularly interested in helping students develop good, lifelong health habits” Huizenga said.
Dr. David Brubaker, Huizenga’s colleague and Director at Houghton Student Health Center, expressed his gratitude for having Huizenga as part of the staff. “Heidi has been a great addition to our staff. She has a friendly personality, and I think people find her easily approachable,” he said. “As a colleague, I’ve appreciated her willingness to freely ask questions and offer suggestions, which she always does with humility. She has been an active and encouraging participant in staff discussions from her first days on the job.”
Even when she is not at the Health Center, Huizenga displays her genuine care to those needing medical attention. “Not long ago, at one of the local high school soccer games that Heidi and I were both watching, one of the players was injured, and at the time it seemed like it could be something pretty serious,” Dr. Brubaker explained. “We both responded to the field to see if we could help. That evening I was grateful for a calm, competent, compassionate and reassuring colleague. As I’ve worked with her on campus, it has become clear that those words describe her interactions at the health center as well. We’re very grateful to have her as part of our team.”
In addition to her nursing, Huizenga enjoys spending time outdoors, running, hiking, reading, birding, and writing to friends around the world. Her family is also a part of the Houghton community as her husband, David, teaches Bible at Houghton Academy, her son Luke Huizenga ‘21, attends Houghton College and her other two kids, Gabe (11th grade) and Anna (8th grade) attend Houghton Academy.
Before her family moved to Houghton, Huizenga worked as a cardiac nurse with elderly patients in the Philadelphia area, followed by working in an outpatient clinic for missionaries in Yaounde, Cameroon during the past 3 years. The transition to Houghton has presented its challenges, yet Huizenga has had a positive outlook through the learning process.
“Working with a young, generally healthy population here is very different from most of my past experience. I worked a lot with older people, many of whom had multiple chronic illnesses,” Huizenga said. “Most of my experience was in cardiac care, so I’m learning to examine ears and throats and wrap sprained ankles! I am enjoying learning new skills; my co-workers have been wonderful teachers.”
Students that have seen Heidi as a patient can attest to the care they have received from her. Ella Malone ’21 shared about her interactions with Heidi at the Student Health Center this semester. “Heidi shows genuine concern for your health and well-being,” she said. “Throughout the week I have received emails from her asking about my well-being which is comforting as it shows she cares. In addition, she always offers words of encouragement.”
Malone continued to express her appreciation for Huizenga by referring her service to other students: “I would definitely recommend others to see Heidi. She is extremely friendly and helpful and she will make your day a little brighter!”
The Health Center is open from 8:30am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday, and is located in the basement of Gillette. More information about the Health Center mission is located on the Student Health Center website.
“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” 3 John 1:2