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Informal BIO

Gijs Hesselink
Gijs Hesselink
Country: The Netherlands

Born and raised in the east of the Netherlands, Gijs Hesselink studied Public Administration for three years at the Radboud University of Nijmegen. After finishing his Bachelor degree in 2006 with a thesis study on ‘the barriers and facilitators of cross-border cooperation in trauma care’, he attended the Utrecht University School of Governance. He graduated here in 2007 with a master thesis investigating ‘the impact of organizational culture on the implementation of care logistics in a Dutch rehabilitation center’. In 2008 he obtained a master’s degree in Health Sciences at the University of Twente. Under authority of the Organisation of European Cancer Institutes (OECI) he graduated with a thesis on ‘the challenges and critical features for developing and implementing a designation system for European cancer institutes’.


Gijs Hesselink is member of the Handover project team since February 2009 when he started as a junior research fellow and PhD student at the Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen.

PhD description

Despite increased importance for effective handover of patient care, hospital discharge faces many examples of miscommunication and insufficient coordination of care, ultimately increasing the chance of adverse outcomes for patients. Consequently many interventions are being introduced to implement new valuable knowledge from scientific research into daily practice. However, improving the quality and safety of handovers requires efforts that reach beyond the development and implementation of best practices only. Underlying perceptions, norms and values of stakeholders that shape their social behavior need to be analyzed in order to understand why effective hospital discharge frequently lacks and why best practices often don’t work.


The objectives of the PhD thesis are: to investigate which factors hinder or facilitate the quality and safety of handovers at hospital discharge from a cultural perspective, to identify effective methods for assessing the impact of culture on handovers at hospital discharge and to identify how best-practices can be implemented in a feasible and sustainable way given cultural assessment. Leading focus will be on exploring and understanding ‘the way things happen’ in the discharge process in terms of communication, information exchange and the coordination of care among stakeholders, by interpreting their shared set of values, believes and norms of behavior.


List of Handover papers:

  • Barriers and facilitators to effective handover in hospital discharge: a case study
  • Cultural barriers and facilitators to effective handover at hospital discharge in Europe
  • Effectiveness of interventions for improving the handover of care at hospital discharge
  • How to determine ‘cultural’ barriers in hospital discharge? Literature review: effective culture assessment instruments (proposed)
  • Exploring ‘cultural’ barriers in hospital discharge at hospital(s) X: A validation study of a culture assessment instrument (proposed)


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