Wietske Kuijer-Siebelink
Wietske Kuijer-Siebelink

Wietske Kuijer-Siebelink appointed Professor of education and learning for interprofessional and transmural collaboration

Wietske Kuijer-Siebelink will be appointed Professor of Education and learning for interprofessional and transmural collaboration at Radboud university medical center/Radboud University as of September 1, 2024. Her research aims to gain insight into learning and training across professional boundaries in practice and how this can actually lead to impact in healthcare.

Students are trained for a profession: to become a doctor, nurse, caregiver, social worker, occupational therapist, dental assistant, or educational professional. During their training, students primarily interact with peers from the same program. However, due to societal changes and specifically in healthcare, it is important to look beyond the boundaries of one's own profession, says Wietske Kuijer-Siebelink.


Kuijer-Siebelink is currently a Professor Vocational and Professional Education at HAN University of Applied Sciences. From September 1, she will combine this role with her position as Professor of education and learning for interprofessional and transmural collaboration at Radboud university medical center. She states: ‘Both research programs are closely aligned and involve cross-boundary collaboration, learning, and training to educate professionals who can tackle new, complex issues together. As a bridge-builder between the two institutions, I aim to promote the shared ambition of cross-boundary learning and collaboration.’

Societal changes are rapidly occurring. Complex care questions will increase in the coming years, and there is a shortage of staff in many areas. It is important to prepare future professionals for this through, among other things, adjustments in vocational education, according to Kuijer-Siebelink. ‘On the work floor, we encounter each other, but collaboration is still far from common. People from various professions across the broad spectrum of vocational education, whether from MBO, HBO, or WO levels, need to find each other better. This way, we can learn, think, work, and educate beyond the boundaries of programs. Even during training, it is valuable to engage in conversations with each other. Otherwise, you won't understand each other, know each other's practices, or know how to utilize each other's expertise.’

Collaboration in the Workplace

There are already great initiatives where students collaborate and learn around real issues, emphasizes Kuijer-Siebelink, but there is still little knowledge about how students and professionals from different backgrounds and educational levels can work and learn together. ‘We also need to investigate how this actually contributes to better care. In the Arnhem and Nijmegen region, Radboudumc, HAN, and regional MBO institutions are making good strides together with partners from the field.’

This different approach to learning and training requires a shift in focus from an individual learning perspective to a more systemic perspective for learning and education in healthcare. The workplace is enormously important because that is where future professionals meet. ‘In training, we educate the professionals of the future, but if they immediately revert to 'old' habits and routines in the workplace, it becomes difficult to implement sustainable changes. Therefore, we need to look at changes both in education and in the workplace,’ says Kuijer-Siebelink. She hopes that in five years it will be natural for professionals from different educational levels to meet and genuinely learn from, with, and about each other. This should lead to a powerful learning-working environment for both students and professionals.


Wietske Kuijer-Siebelink graduated in 2002 as a human movement scientist within Pedagogical Sciences at the University of Groningen. In 2006, she obtained her PhD in Medical Sciences at UMC Groningen (dissertation: Measuring Disability in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain). In 2005, she started as a lecturer-researcher at HAN University of Applied Sciences. As a senior researcher, she focused on interprofessional collaboration, learning, and education in healthcare, and in 2021 she was appointed as a Professor Vocational and Professional Education at HAN. Since May 2020, she has also been working one day a week as a senior researcher at Radboudumc Health Academy, focusing on interprofessional workplace learning in healthcare. Her appointment as professor starts on September 1, for a period of five years.

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