‘You are needed’ is the slogan of the advertising campaign of Radboud University’s new academic year. It stands for equal opportunities for all. As a kidney patient it couldn’t make me more happy to see that Radboud University really cares. Of course, I already experienced this during my study Psychology which I attended in 2001. A major life crisis had knocked me of my feet when I learned that I suffered a major kidney failure and the only prosper to a healthy life was the gift of life: a new kidney donated by my father which I received in 2003. Imaginable, my study progress also suffered due to these health challenges.
The study advisor tried to help me stay on track, and if needed, helped me back on track (thank you for that!). Next to my health problems, there were some organizational challenges as well to tackle.
When I started the study Psychology, university had a ‘Doctorandus – Doctor’ structure and during my study it was reorganized in a ‘Bachelor- Master’ structure. This was mainly a change of title, with no real obstacles along the way. Later on, the Psychology Department did undergo some changes itself. The specialization I preferred to attend Psychology of Culture and Personality was changed in Psychology of Culture and Religion. I had to take this second best, although my real interest in Psychology is the old school Personality research.
Eventually, the whole Bachelor – Master structure was altered and the majors to graduate became more universal.
To fully graduate as a Master in Social Sciences turned out to be a bridge too far for me. However, next to studying I invested my time in voluntary work at the Dutch Kidney Federation and the Dutch Kidney Patients Association and thanks to these efforts I managed to find a job that really fits me.
I started working at the Patientenfederatie Nederland. First, as a volunteer at the level of patient participation in scientific research. Since a few years I assist at Zorgpanel, Enquêtetool and nowadays at Keuzehulpen. These occupations are associated with scientific research. My daily activities at Zorgpanel is to program and send out questionnaires for scientific research, and manage the questions of the members of Zorgpanel. The Patientenfederatie tries to learn the experiences and opinions in different aspects of health care in order to help improve healthcare in the Netherlands. An online questionnaire tool is provided by Patientenfederatie to her members (patient organizations) and I assist to answer any questions for using this questionnaire tool (Spidox). Last but not least, Keuzehulpen is a different kind of duty. We (Zorgkaart.nl) try to put professional jargon into simple language which most people will understand, to develop a ‘Keuzehulp’ which is helpful to choose a specialist or hospital of your preference when faced to a specific health problem and in need for treatment.
The Patiëntenfederatie is all about diversity and I feel lucky to be able to be part of this organization. It is really hard to apply for a decent job when your health is impaired. The Patientenfederatie is the best employer as they provide facilities to work at home versus at the office and other ways to be able to work flexible! This way I am able to work, learn, grow, and repeat!
At times I wonder how it would feel to be a Master in Social Sciences, a title I cannot use. But then, life doesn’t start with a diploma. To perform at an employment in a way that makes you feel happy and useful, might be worth a whole lot more.