Bernadeth F. van der Leest


In her role as nurse at KAUST Health, Bernadeth F. van der Leest always treats her patients with a smile. She has learned the power of kindness by listening to and caring for her patients without judgement, especially in a community with so many different cultures and customs like KAUST. While giving KAUST residents the care and services that they need, her personal involvement gives her a profound feeling of fulfillment.

In 2020, at the beginning of the Corona pandemic, Bernadeth volunteered for the challenging job of answering phone calls with all sorts of COVID-19 related inquiries. Later, she worked on the antigen testing and vaccination campaigns, two intense projects that required her full dedication. But no matter how difficult the task, Bernadeth always handles it with grace. She persevered as it was something she felt she needed to do to keep the KAUST community safe, and these experiences made her more resilient as a person.

It has been an astoundingly challenging time for her and her colleagues, but all of them are committed to serve the community the best way they can in the fight against COVID-19. Bernadeth is truly grateful for all the residents that appreciate what she and her colleagues do. She considers herself lucky to be working at KAUST Health, where she feels more safe than anywhere else.

To Bernadeth, KAUST is particularly special because of its diversity; over 100 nationalities living together with mutual respect for one and other. She feels that KAUST is a healthy mix of people from different countries with a variety of religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds, and that the young people who are living here have an amazing opportunity to get acquainted with these differences, so they will be able to show tolerance and respect as they grow up. One of the best things about KAUST for her is the sense of acceptance and belonging she feels within the friend groups that she and her husband have. Additionally, she finds the wide variety of people’s talents, abilities, and expertise at KAUST astonishing.

“I feel privileged to be part of the KAUST Community. I am grateful that my husband, Floris, introduced me to this unique place. The first time I came here, I was in awe of the university’s beauty. Living here, I’ve come to experience that KAUST has wonderful facilities and events to offer. But most of all, I like the mix of people that I meet in the community. I take pride in the living environment here at KAUST; it has the ability to adapt and change smoothly when needed, which became especially apparent during the pandemic.”

Published: August, 2021