Ik Student
Universiteit Amsterdam

Why this website?

Research has shown that many students at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA) often have problems or are under severe pressure, but don’t look for help. And even when they do look for help, it’s often at a very late stage. That’s why the student doctors’ office (Bureau Studentenartsen) has developed an accessible website, which offers students information about the backgrounds to these sorts of problems and to finding help. This website consists of students’ stories, told to researchers of the student doctors’ office.

About the research

This website is the result of research by the student doctors’ office (Bureau Studentenartsen) of the UvA. We wanted to find out why students do or don’t look for help when they are experiencing problems. We held in-depth interviews with forty students who suffered health problems, but didn’t look for professional help for these problems. The students we interviewed varied in age and were enrolled in various degree courses. There were several ways for them to take part in the research: at the request of their study advisor; by responding to posters and flyers distributed at the faculties; in student flats and student cafes; or through network websites such as Hyves and Facebook.
During the interviews these students talked about how they deal with problems and looking for help. And about how those pressures relate to studying and student life. The interviews were then systematically analysed, according to the common qualitative methods. Based on this analysis, we compiled seven student profiles. The rough drafts of the interviews were then rewritten to the stories as they appear on the website now. To represent the students’ experiences truthfully, we have used their wording as much as possible. Obviously the stories they told, have been shortened.
In order to protect the privacy of the students, names and places have been changed.

The staff of the student doctors’ office wrote a book about their research, entitled Studenten en stille pijn. Wel problemen maar geen hulp zoeken (Students and the silent pain. Having problems but not looking for help) (2010). The book is written in an empathetic way, is full of recognition and offers an insight into the possible reasons why students don’t look for help. The book is available from the larger bookshops and at the student doctors’ office practice.

 Studenten en stille pijn. Wel problemen maar geen hulp zoeken

About the researchers

  • Nick W. Verouden (1975) is a cultural anthropologist and has been a researcher with the Department for Research, Development and Prevention of the student doctors’ office at the University of Amsterdam since 2007. He executed the research project Studying, health and looking for help. Together with Peter Vonk and Frans J. Meijman he wrote the book Studenten en stille pijn. Wel problemen maar geen hulp zoeken (Students and the silent pain. Having problems but not looking for help) (2010). He is also involved in research into the importance of nature, in particular water, to health and wellbeing. He also wrote a chapter for the book Water! als medicijn (Water! as medicine) (2007).

  • Peter Vonk (1956) studied medicine at the University of Groningen. After he passed his doctor’s exam in 1982 he specialised as general practitioner (GP) at that same university. His traineeship took place with two practices in Sneek. After spending a summer as a locum in Ameland he joined the University of Amsterdam in 1984 as a student doctor. He also works as a GP in the group practice General Practitioners Oude Turfmarkt. Since 1997 he is also the head of the unit Student Health Care at the University of Amsterdam. Within this unit the Department for Research, Development and Prevention has been researching the sense of health and health influences among students for a number of years now. Since March 2006 he trains future GP’s in the degree course for general practitioner at the Academic Medical Centre (AMC) in Amsterdam.

  • Frans J. Meijman (1950) was a GP for 27 years. He was also a student doctor within the University of Amsterdam. He remains there as senior researcher Student and Health. For 15 years he was the editor of the periodical Huisarts en Wetenschap (General Practitioner and Science). Since 1999 he is professor with the Metamedica department at the VU medical centre. He specialises in the exchange of medical information in the public environment.
    He was co-editor on Water! als medicijn (Water! as medicine) (2007) and was editor of Leonardo voor het publiek. Een geschiedenis van wetenschaps- en techniekcommunicatie (Leonardo for the public. A history of science and skills communication) (2007) and of the Winkler Prins Medisch Handboek (Winkler Prins Medical Hand Book (2007). Together with Stephen Snelders he wrote De mondige patiënt. Historische kijk op een mythe (The articulate patient. An historical view on a myth) (2009).