MBO students bring health care technology to the workplace

Education plays an important role in making healthcare future-proof. But researchers, the government and institutions also play a role. Director Mayke Ruven of the Healthcare College of the ROC van Twente is a strong advocate of collaboration for this reason. “If we don’t do it together, we will not make it. There are many initiatives, for example, when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent. That could be a lot less fragmented.”

In short

  • There are large staff shortages in healthcare
  • ROC van Twente trains students to bring technology to healthcare

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Mayke Ruven has been working in healthcare for years, at the intersection of healthcare and education. She became the director of the Healthcare College of the ROC van Twente four years ago. She saw many changes over the years. “Healthcare institutions are much more aware of the importance of training for making staff future-proof and binding people to them. Helpers, cares and nurses must be given opportunities to develop, as healthcare is constantly changing.”


One of those changes is the emergence of self-managing teams and self-organisation. “This requires empowered employees with a proactive attitude. Employees must be able to stand up for themselves and take control. We are responding to this at ROC van Twente by making students responsible for their learning process. That does not mean we throw them in at the deep end, but it does mean that they have to think about how they want to develop on their own. They will have to do this after they have their diploma, too. Just having that diploma will not be enough.”


Another important development is the technology’s role in healthcare. From technology in diagnostics and treatment to technology that can increase the self-reliance of patients and reduce the workload of our care workers. “Our MBO students are the ones who will be able to bring technology in healthcare to the workplace. They will know what works and what does not when a new invention is used, and they can help with thinking about how the applicability can be increased, which things should be done differently.”


There were beautiful examples of technology that can increase the self-reliance of patients at the last Kennisfestival. For example, a device that enables mobile phones to make a cardiogram. Or a spoon that absorbs the vibrations of Parkinson’s patients, making it easier for them to eat. Robots or video calls can be a remedy for loneliness, and sensors can monitor patients so that fewer control rounds are needed. “Our students play an important role when it comes to adapting to these new technologies. Inventions can be amazing, but they still have to be accepted in practice. They are the link between the findings of the University of Twente and Saxion, and the practice in the workplace.


Despite all the technology, healthcare will always be a job for humans. “75 per cent of our students tell us they have wanted this all their lives during the introductory meeting. That passion is a wonderful starting point, but it is an important responsibility for education and government at the same time. Because how do we ensure that these people stay motivated? The figures show that students regularly drop out after only two years of working in healthcare. Is that because they have no perspective, or is there not enough variety? Is the workload too high or is the connection between school and practice not good enough? Research is needed to find out what the problem is.”


Healthcare institutions could form a pool in this time of staff shortage so that someone leaving at one institution can find a place at one of the colleague institutions. “Sometimes you don’t feel at home with one employer, but you succeed with another. We can prevent someone from being completely lost to healthcare in this way.” Health institutions themselves also see the necessity of working together to meet the challenges of the future. “It is a shame that the experience and knowledge gained in projects in one sector are limited to that sector only, or even to just one institution.”


Mayke is a positive person, but she sees major challenges for the future. “We are not yet fully aware of the staff shortage in healthcare. Technology is part of the solution, but the environment will also have to be more involved in informal care.” There are some rays of hope. Although fewer new students choose a combination of internships and learning, institutions bring an increase in the number of BBL students who combine learning and working. An increase can also be seen with the lateral entrants. “We usually get fewer lateral entrants when the economy is doing well, but we are seeing more and more people who, even though they had jobs already, choose healthcare with full conviction. The fact that they are almost certain of a job plays an important role in this.”

Date: 19 February 2020 |

Source of tekst: INN Twente |

Author: INN Twente