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One Dutch person's verdict on Sweden and the GPCC course Philosophical Foundations for Person-centred Care


Nice Volvos, 40 centimeters of snow, challenging philosophers and great networking. Petra Hoogendorn from the Netherlands was one of three foreign students who attended the first GPCC PhD-level short course Philosophical Foundations for Person-centred Care in English this autumn. She came to Gothenburg for three separate campus-based weeks during the course. We asked her a few questions about her experience.

Petra Hoogendoorn

1. Who are you and where do you come from?

I am Petra Hoogendoorn, from the Netherlands, I live near Amsterdam with my 3 kids Chris, Simone and Thijs and our American au pair Cheyenne. My background is in industrial engineering and change management. In loving memory of my late husband Richard I am currently developing e-health by the name of Goings-On. Goings-On is to assist in aiming for ‘what matters’ to individual cancer patients and their family members, by easily visualizing patient and family members life - and health goals attainment. Programming is scheduled for February / March and is to be followed by testing and implementation at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, and with a bit of luck afterwards in the US.

2. What made you interested in the course?

I was and still am interested in the GPCC’s ways to determine what matters to individual patients and their loved ones. There were a few things I hoped to be able to determine in the details of the app and accompanying research design and implementation approach.

3. How did the course set-up work for you with the weeks spent in Gothenburg?

It worked very well. This made it possible for me to attend, together with the fact that the course was in English of course. Although I did try to improve somewhat on my Swedish. I am happy to report that I made some progress with advanced guessing, that is on the reading part, still have a lot to learn on the verbal part.

4. How did you find the course?

I am very happy I joined. I solved a number of issues I wanted to solve. However I do wonder why some philosophers seem to "make an effort" to make their writing rather challenging and thus having a large audience miss out. A slight lesson in inclusion resulting perhaps in some 'for dummy’s' editions wouldn’t hurt. I’m hoping to be able to enjoy good follow-ups and learn more on your lessons and experiences in implementation. I can imagine an effort to keep in contact and create a network in which further experiences and struggles are shared could add significantly to expanding person-centered care in- and outside Sweden.

5. Do you have any comments on Gothenburg: good aspects/bad aspects?

I was very happy that I could stay with one of the other participants during my stay in Gothenburg and get to meet her family and see her daily life, joining her yoga and gym class, seeing her work environment, walking around town, catching up somewhat on your history in between the Vikings and now and continue our talks, readings and writings on person-centered care in the evenings. As a former owner of three rather cool Volvos it was fun to see a still attractive bunch of Volvos that seem to have enjoyed a good life at the Airport. I missed out on seeing the archipelago unfortunately.

I loved getting to see some of Malmö as well in November during an overnight visit with friends and I loved even more Umeå’s app. 40 cm of fresh snow at more than -20 degrees cross-country skiing in beautiful surroundings in January combined with meeting some more researchers at the University thanks to yet another great host from whom I learned more about the Sami and a variety of Swedish food. I didn’t get to see any moose in nature but I did get to enjoy eating moose for the first time in my life. Unfortunately I missed out on northern lights, that continues to be on my bucket list, but I loved continued talks and a morning walk at -25 degrees and shoveling snow getting there. All in all it made me wonder why it took a PhD course on the philosophical grounds of person-centered care for me to finally get to see Sweden. Still lots more to see and do, perhaps next time with my kids. 

Petra can be reached via her Linkedin page.

This part-time short Post-graduate level course is entitled "Significant Concepts for Person-centred care: Philosophical Foundations" (7,5 Swedish Higher Education credits*). It was given in English for the first time during late autumn 2016. The course subjects included the evolution and development of the concept of person-centredness with emphasis on philosophical foundations, ontology, epistemology and ethics.