Esther Hamoen, clinical teacher

“It’s new, it’s fun and people find what we do interesting.” During her training to become an internist, Esther Hamoen thought to herself: ‘This training could be better’. And it hasn’t stayed with just a thought: she’s now a clinical teacher at the LUMC and is busy with a doctoral research on the integration of education in healthcare.

But let’s go back to 2013, the year Esther started her training as a doctor to become an internist at the LUMC. During her specialization Endocrinology, the idea of improving education became an increasingly more prominent ambition. With a colleague, she critically evaluated the training material of the internships: “At first, the goal was more training in practice, but subsequently it became the optimization of this goal”, Esther says. Her ambitious approach didn’t go unnoticed: after completing her education in 2016, the LUMC offered her a job where she’s not only an internist-endocrinologist at the department, but also a clinical teacher. 

Education from all angles
In practice, this means she gets to spend a lot of time on education: “I teach students, nurses and also doctors. And not just in a lecture hall, but also at the bedside of a patient. Thus, at our department, patient care isn’t the only central focus, we also focus on the training of our health care professionals.” For instance, a part of her tasks is training the nurses: “You really notice the improvement in communication between doctors and nurses when nurses understand why they perform certain procedures. In addition, these nurses, in return, can supervise young doctors with certain procedures. The whole department teaches and trains each other, in all directions. And that’s a really fun process to watch.”

Consultation hour at the polyclinic
Despite the many hours Esther spends on research and education, plenty of time remains for her to execute her profession as internist-endocrinologist. Once a week she has a consultation hour at the polyclinic. She witnesses all kinds of diseases related to hormone-producing organs (like the thyroid) and metabolism: “What interests me the most is the Pituitary. This hormone gland is located beneath the brain and controls various organs, like the thyroid, adrenals and sex organs. A very important gland that can suffer many inconveniences.” 

New, fun and interesting
The combination mix Esther has in her job and her focus on research and education is unique in the Netherlands: “We are the first hospital with this approach. It is a new phenomenon to professionalize education at a nursing department in this fashion.” Thus, on the ‘days of internists’ it was up to Esther to present how the LUMC operates. And the reactions? Nothing but praise! “It’s new, it’s fun and people find what we do interesting.” 

Virtual Reality
Esther hopes to finish her doctoral research in the next three years: “We use modern techniques to innovate education. For instance, we work with Virtual Reality and an online course for students that we can use during their internships. This course is almost finished and we expect to go live soon. We have already witnessed the effectiveness of this form of education, now it’s just a matter of seeing the research findings showing the same results.” But Esther is the least bit worried about the future: “I expect more hospitals to implement this form of education. This is only the beginning!