Mel Major, one of our experienced lecturers has just received an NWO grant for her PhD research proposal titled: “Improving the quality of survival; the development and implementation of tailored primary care physiotherapy for patients following discharge from intensive care unit”. This is huge news for her so we want to know how she is doing and to find out more, we ask her a few questions:

How are you?

Thrilled, of course! Can’t sleep, can’t think straight. A bit like I was first day in school I guess. Very happy I can start working on what I am passionate about – improving the quality of survival of patients who have been critically ill.

So Mel, what are going to do with all that money?

Well, the money is not going to me directly – otherwise I wouldn’t have returned to work today 😉
The grant will be paid to the university, so that they can facilitate me (pay me) for doing research for two days a week. The university is kind enough to add another day to this. In these 3 days I will be trying to conduct my full time PhD during the next 4 years. What is left in the grant, will facilitate me to go to relevant congresses across the world where I will also have to share and present my research.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D53gygWRhLM
Check out this video to get a better idea of what “early mobilisation” in the ICU is about. Mel will be doing her research in collaboration with researchers of the Academic Medical Centre (AMC) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Your title is very long, was that the trick to get the grant through?

It was – you got me! (it worked, didn’t it?)

ESP and ICU are both intensive, I see that, but what else is there in common?

I can see many commonalities; such as complexity, diversity, exciting environment, state-of-the-art, evidence-based, high level care (education), multidisciplinary, never-a-dull-moment

Sure it’s nice for you to do research that you enjoy behind the scenes, but what’s in it for ESP?

This research will not be behind the scenes at all. I am already accommodating two BSc projects within my PhD, so two groups of students are starting their BSc thesis project this February already, both projects are related to my PhD research. For example one is a pilot qualitative study among patients discharged from ICU and the results will help me set up the larger study. Another project is the systematic evaluation of the e-learning module ‘physiotherapy in the ICU’ of which a pilot will run coming summer. The results of this project will also help setting up the larger study.


“This research will not be behind the scenes at all”.

I have many more ideas which will help bring ICU physiotherapy and ICU research and the long term complications of patients post-ICU, to the ESP curriculum and ESP students. This involves my work at the intensive care department of the AMC. If students want to know more, they can come and ask me 🙂

What about the ICU course you are developing, is that part of the proposal?

It is…we developed an e-learning module together with researchers and clinicians from the department of rehabilitation at the AMC. This is the theoretical part of the ICU course within the AMC. A practical assignment is completed by students during one of their internships and together will give students 2 ECs. But I want to know; if the module is effective? Does it prepare students for the sometimes daunting ICU environment? But also; does their knowledge of physiotherapeutic tasks and responsibilities in the ICU increase? This is one of the 5 projects of my PhD research.
Thanks Bas! Couldn’t have done it without @espamsterdam !!

Did you know that Mel is also part of ESP’s social media crew? Mel is managing the @espamsterdam Twitter account! Please retweet our posts there if you like them. To reach Mel’s personal Twitter account, just use @major_mel and follow her research and educational adventures!


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