"It feels good to contribute to research that's aimed at improving the situation of people with a chronic illness or disability."
“During my Bachelor’s in Psychology at the University of Twente, I realised that health is something that fascinates me a lot. Why do some people make healthier choices than others? What do people with chronic illnesses encounter and how can they best be supported in managing their symptoms and illness? And why do some people manage disease better than others? That’s why I chose the specialisation in Health Psychology & Technology within the Master’s in Psychology.
Importance of eHealth
I find the link with technology and the focus on eHealth particularly interesting within this specialisation because this is becoming increasingly important within healthcare and psychology. I decided to further focus on this by following up my Master’s with a PhD, in which I investigated the effects of a blended-care treatment for people with chronic fatigue and type 1 diabetes. This blended treatment is carried out partly via the internet and partly via face-to-face contact. The treatment turned out to be effective and is now offered in regular care!
It is very nice to see that your research findings do not just end up on a shelf, but are actually used in practice. I realised that I wanted to keep doing research with social relevancy and this is still very much the case in my current job. I work as a project leader Care and Participation Monitor at Nivel (Netherlands Institute for Healthcare Research). As a project leader, I am coordinating a large-scale and long-term research project into the experiences with care and participation of people with a chronic illness or disability in the Netherlands.
Shaping policy with research findings
At Nivel, there is a lot of collaboration with policy institutions and civil society organisations. This means that many of the research findings are applied in practice. For example, I recently collaborated on the study 'Unlimited Participation', in which we looked at the participation of people with disabilities in society. Our findings have been presented and discussed in the Lower House of Parliament and are used to shape policy for this group.
To this day, I am very excited about my job and I feel that the Master’s in Psychology prepared me well for it. Drawing up project ideas and research questions, analysing quantitative and qualitative data and presenting the findings to various stakeholders: I am still making use of many research skills I gained during my Master’s."