Lots has happened. As I have been very busy this past year I did not really write updates on my blog. But here I got a new update, as my student life has ended.
This summer I graduated as a healthcare technologist at Avans Hogeschool. Probably an unknown field for many people. In short my studies are about how you can improve the quality of life or the healthcare by adding technology. So which form of technology will work best within a specific situation. It could be very broad with everything that the healthcare touches and then also with technology which starts with simple devices, up to robotics or e-health and systems.
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After my exchange in the USA I moved pretty fast to Tilburg where my studies was based. The first two years we learned a lot about the different fields within the healthcare and also getting the knowledge of the different sicknesses that exist and what you have to think of working with those people. Then we had some practical lessons about different kinds of technologies. Every semester we had two running projects in groups. The first year it was more like case studies while we went to the fields in the second year. For example, we looked into safe solutions for a closed care home where they didn’t want to hurt the privacy of their clients. Also we did a project with mentally disabled people. The care group used smartwatches to monitor their clients, but it was not validated. And as they wanted trustworthy data, they were wondering what the alternatives were to get the data from their clients. Next to the projects within the field we also had projects with designing for or advising about several case studies.
In the third year of my studies I started of going to Bali with the minor International Sustainable Development. Often I had the feeling the healthcare in the Netherlands is already really good and I really wanted to take the step back for myself to the basics. Back to the why. Why are we working on this, where did we come from? Bali was part of a 3rd country culture. The people are poor and their income is mainly based on the tourists coming to the island. As I lived for four months in Singaraja I really experiences the whole different culture. During my time on Bali I went to the local university to learn about the culture and the basics of ‘bahasa Indonesia’ (Indonesian language). I also set up my own project on Bali. As the minor did not have projects yet in my field. I worked with physically disabled people in Bengkale and Singaraja. Visiting those people really gave me the insight on how ‘spoiled’ we actually are in the Netherlands. But the people are happy with their lives and they are always there for each other. During my project I first braided many Inke baskets, and later on when I visited the disabled people I gave them advise on simple solutions which could help them to live in a more independent way with less complaints of their injuries. I even managed on two people getting new wheelchairs by contacting a local foundation.
Next to getting the insights how good we have it in the Netherlands and how ‘spoiled’ we might be, I also learned how to communicate better with people and how to respect the other values and accepting it is not all the same. The people are happy with the way they are living, we can help them. But their culture is so different that solutions that might be best in the Netherlands won’t work at all on Bali.
The second semester of my 3rd year I did my internship at UMC Utrecht. For the people who don’t know this place: it is a hospital in the Netherlands. At UMCU they were testing an online support program for the partners of people with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Being a caregiver can get rough and with the support program they got tips on how to handle specific situations and they got personal coaching. As the program was build up in a basic student learning platform, it did not really fit the target group (people aged +- 40-60 who might not be so experienced on the computer). During my internship I looked into the program and tried to pick out the difficult parts for the users. Then I gave advise on how they could change the program so there would be less mistakes made by the users. As the program was build in an external program it was hard to change it myself. But I made a mock-up as example and further the hospital was super happy to have everything on paper.
In the beginning of my fourth year I did the minor ergonomic design. During this minor we learned a lot about how to design something for specific target groups. During the minor we did two projects. The first project was about the LEA robot, this robot is similar to a walker. As many people want to take more stuff on the robot, we got asked to design something that would make it possible. We ended up making a kind of tray that allowed to carry more on the robot. With the other project we did reverse engineering. Here we redesigned a Fidget Lap Pad to the next product phase.
During the last stage in my education, year four, semester two. I did my final internship at Health2Work, a company that focusses on an ergonomic working environment. They are offering this exoskeleton that is designed for the industry and were wondering if it could have an added value within hospitals. So that is what I worked on for half a year. I visited lots of hospitals, figured out within which hospitals fields the exoskeleton might have an added value. I got the chance to test the exoskeleton within the ultrasound and I could demonstrate it at the OR (operating room). I also looked up what the obstacles are to implement the exoskeleton and what the best ways are to overcome these obstacles. I really loved my internship here and finished it with a 8,5/10. My last grade that I got as a student.
Now my life as a student is over. I will be looking for a traineeship or a job and hope I can start a next adventure and challenge soon!