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ALUMNI | Joana Santos


Graduated from ESS, Porto Polytechnic Health School, Joana Santos today feels highly valued in England and not even Brexit prevents her from working

Joana Santos, graduated in Nuclear Medicine, fondly remembers the times she spent at the Escola Superior de Saúde (ESS). It was years of training and growth, a real passage to adulthood. Born in Carrazeda de Ansiães, Bragança, it was the first time she lived away from his parents' home and the first time she learned how to study "in the true sense". Today, she lives between Portugal and England.

"ESS taught me to be an adult for the first time", she shoots. It was between the four walls of ESS, still in Gaia, that she spent the first four years outside Trás-os-Montes. And aside from the dramas and disappointments that are part of the growing pains, she took part of all the fun, of the Pedagogical Council and of the Students' Association (AE), developing the spirit of union and sharing. "I was taught that university life has a bohemian side, but it also has a responsible side, of working for our colleagues voluntarily", she says. "I learned to study in the true sense, that of seeking knowledge. The teaching method of my course was Practice-Based Learning, which helps a lot to look for answers instead of just studying theory", she argues.

Today she is a Senior Nuclear Medicine Technologist - "my professional life is in England". As soon as she finished her degree, she worked in permanent positions for the English National Health System (NHS) for more than two years, in Birmingham, and she is now a freelancer and seeks his own job in hospitals, mediated by a private agency.

"Fortunately, our education is widely recognized and required abroad and not even Brexit prevents us from working in England, where I always felt valued", says Joana, who is divided between England and Portugal, where she is studying again, this time Nutritional Sciences. "I live 70% of the year in Portugal and the rest in Birmingham. I adapted very well to English culture, and I feel some nostalgia when I return to Portugal", admits. The main difference is the mentalities. "People are super liberal, more aware of social issues such as LGBT rights and at a professional level everyone is concerned with stress and mental health, there is more concern for the environment, more appreciation of time with the family, going to the pub after work ", explains.

More than theoretical knowledge, Joana argues that the human component, as a health professional, is the differentiating element in the quality of life of its patients. In that sense, her experience in ESS AE, first, and Erasmus, later, contributed to making her the person she is, "always trying to evolve, without fear of change".

To the future ESS licensees Joana gives you an advice. "The degree is the beginning of a journey." Even with the luck of working in the training area, in the country of first choice and with a remuneration that corresponds to expectations, "we can radically change our profession or evolve within it, without being static, valuing empathy with the people around us ".

"In Portugal we are still far from the recognition that our professions deserve, compared to other countries, whether in terms of remuneration, support for training, incentives for research. But the Portuguese are very good at what they do, so good that the Portuguese word arrives before our resume when we applied for jobs abroad ", assures.