Archive Britt Schuurman
Although Britt Schuurman began her master’s degree in Medicine in March, she has yet to do any clinical rotations. She was supposed to be doing a rotation in the Department of Surgery at the Laurentius Hospital in Roermond right now. “I was looking forward to doing clinical rotations, but I understand why I have to wait. I’m OK with it. They’ve been postponed, not cancelled.”
So far, her master’s programme has consisted of theory rather than practice. Once every two weeks, she attends a day of lectures and tutorials through Zoom. These online classes are going “quite well. I’d expected it to be awkward at times, with silences or people talking over each other, but it’s actually fine. It’s going well.”
For each clinical rotation she does, Schuurman has to write an essay on medical law and ethics. These assignments haven’t been postponed, although some of them have been changed slightly. “For our Pathology assignment, for example, we’re being assigned a case rather than choosing one from practice.”
Even though a considerable part of her degree has been postponed, Schuurman is quite busy these days. She is spending almost all of her time doing research for her PhD. “I started working on it towards the end of my bachelor’s degree. My PhD project is an offshoot of a study I worked on when I was a student assistant. I’m investigating whether there are differences in brain activity between chronic pain patients and people who don’t have chronic pain. I’d already collected the data, so I can easily work from home.” It’s an unpaid PhD, explains Schuurman, and she doesn’t have a specific deadline. She works on it whenever she can and hopes to earn her PhD degree soon after her master’s degree.
She sticks to a tight schedule. “I get up early on weekdays and work from 9 a.m. until at least 4:30 p.m. I do fun things in the evenings and at weekends – painting, baking, cooking. And I’m fixing my bicycle.” These are all activities she can do alone. Her social circle has become quite small, she says. She has temporarily moved back in with her parents in Doetinchem, in the east of the Netherlands. “The only people I see are my parents, one of my brothers – who also moved back in – and my boyfriend. I have a chat with my friends when I run into them on the street, but we’re not meeting up for the time being.”
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