Take your time in finding a project that really appeals to you

Reinier Feijen earned his bachelor's degree in Biomedical Sciences from Utrecht University. In this, neurology and developmental biology appealed to him the most. For his SBM master's project, he therefore focused on research groups in these two topics. His advice: “If the person you approached does not have a project for you, ask if other people in the group or department might have a suitable project.” In this way, he himself obtained a project that he really enjoys.

To find relevant research groups, Reinier looked back on his Bachelor’s programme and the courses he had had on these subjects. He mailed quite a number of groups, but remained critical. Topics that were too far removed from his interests, he rejected. “I really wanted a research project that I would enjoy.”

Reinier was offered a project in the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital on the Intensive Care of Neonatology. The aim of his project is to find out the impeding factors for the flow of patients from the intensive care. “Think of the course of diseases, communication with the obstetrics department and the severity of the nursing work, that might contribute to absenteeism.”

He is free to choose his own approach, and has experienced that on a social level he had to cross a threshold socially. “It is up to me to approach physicians and nurses asking if they can help me.” What he especially enjoys is the fact that he may contribute to patient refusal and therefore direct improvement of care.

His advice to new students: start in time and take your time in finding a project that really appeals to you. “Starting a few weeks later with the internship is really not a big deal.”