Nienke Dijkstra

Back to experts Nienke Dijkstra
Function: Researcher, PhD candidate
Research Group: Chronic Illnesses


Telephone: (0031) 6 41 62 06 81

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Since September 1, 2015 Nienke Dijkstra works as a PhD candidate at the HU University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht within the Chronic Diseases research group. The focus of her thesis is early recognition of medication related problems in the elderly.

The Dutch aging population and a growing number of chronic illnesses will cause an increase in medication use. The HARM study (Hospital Admissions Related to Medication) have shown that approximately 5% (41.000) of all hospital admissions in the Netherlands are associated with medication related problems. Almost a halve of the admissions (46%) are preventable and this means that 52 admissions per day are preventable. Medication related hospital admissions in the Netherlands correspondents to a yearly cost of 85 million euro.

Elderly are at risk to develop medication related problems. Furthermore older people live longer in their own home so the demand of homecare will increase in the near future. Homecare professionals have therefor an important role in the early recognition of problems in the home situation. Dr. C. Sino developed the ‘Red Flag Instrument’ during her PhD program ‘Medication Management in Homecare Patients’. The instrument allows homecare workers to recognize medication related problems.
A pilot of the Red Flag Instrument shows that homecare workers are more aware of the recognition of medication related problems and more problems were notified. Problems were now treated earlier by support of general practitioners and pharmacists. A decline in health could therefore be avoided.
Until April 2016 the Red Flag Instrument will be tested by 3 Dutch homecare organizations.

This PhD program focuses on the unraveling of the active components of the Red Flag Instrument. Nienke will investigate how healthcare professionals (homecare workers, general practitioners and pharmacists) can contribute to the early recognition of medication related problems, which competences are required and how early detection can be integrated in current education programs for healthcare professionals.

For this research Nienke can combine her knowledge and experience as a nurse and health scientist. Besides the PhD program, Nienke works as a nurse lecturer at the HU University of Applied Sciences.

  • Sept. 2015-present day:    PhD candidate research group chronic illnesses, HU University of Applied Sciences  Utrecht
    Promotor: Prof. dr. M.J. Schuurmans, Utrecht University
    Co-promotor: Dr. C. Sino. Institute director of nursing studies, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht
    lecturer Bachelor of Nursing, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht
  • 2013 - Oct. 2015: Research nurse, University Medical Center Utrecht
  • 2012-2013: Master Health Sciences, specialization Prevention and Public health, VU University Amsterdam
  • 2011-2012: Pre-master Health Sciences, VU University Amsterdam
  • 2011: Bachelor Nursing, Hanze University of Applied Science Groningen.

Chronic Illnesses

Nursing and Allied Health care for people with chronic illnesses

About the Research Group

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