by Max Horsmans, Student Social Work at Avans Hogeschool, ‘s-Hertogenbosch (The Netherlands)

I pitched my research proposal last week for the ethics committee. This is a group of doctors, managers and other professionals at George Regional Hospital. Every research project has to get the approval of this council, before it can be executed. Before I presented my proposal, Celesté Louw (my supervisor in this hospital) gave a short introduction of the CASO program, with all the different work packages. After this short presentation, I shortly explained the school system in the Netherlands, because it is different from the way it is arranged in South Africa. In South Africa, you have college (practical) and university (everything with a degree). In the Netherlands, you have two kinds of universities; the ‘regular’ ones, and the universities of applied sciences. Avans Hogeschool, my school, is a university of applied sciences. Therefore you have a theoretical basis, which is expanded with a lot of internships. These internships are not part of the curriculum at universities in the Netherlands. I think it is important for the committee to ‘see’ my place in the school system. Therefore they are more able to estimate my intentions and needs in this research.

My pitch went really well. I was quite nervous in the beginning, since English is not my native language. There were quite a lot ‘important’ people, so that wasn’t helping either. But my proposal was received quite well. There were some questions about the way of executing the interviews; but over all they though that it was a clear story and they didn’t foresee any problems. They emphasised the importance of the privacy of the professionals. I think it is good to pay a lot of attention to this subject, because it would be terrible if all the answers of the professionals would be shared throughout the entire hospital.

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