Beyond the scientist: Mark van den Boogaard


Mark van den Boogaard, Assistant Professor at Department of Intensive Care.

Where and when were you born?

I was born here in the Radboud hospital in 1965, so just a few years ago. I grew up in Cuijk, a small town 14 km below Nijmegen.

Where do you live and with whom?

In 1994 I moved from Zwolle, which is also a very nice city, to Nijmegen together with my wife Lilian Peters. Since then, I have been living nearby (800mtr) the Radboudumc, so I can walk to my work, which I never do since I’m a cyclist.

Who was your role model when you were a kid?

As all young kids, I had a strong believe that I was a fantastic football player at the age of 10 year and that I was as good, or even better, than my hero at that moment, Willy van der Kuijlen, who was playing for PSV (Eindhoven).

Why aren’t you doing the same thing now as your role model (or do you?)

Reality is sometimes really hard and I noticed that I was not that good at football. When I was 12 or 13 years old, I had surgery in the Radboud hospital, where I met doctors and nurses. Since then, I knew what my future job would be, not a professional football player, also not a doctor, but a nurse. Caring for sick people, that was my vocation, despite it was not, and still is not, not as well paid as a professional football player.

What is the thing in your (work or other) history that you are most proud of?

My thesis, which I defended in 2012, focusing on delirium in ICU patients. The studies included in my thesis were the foundation for my own research program; ICU delirium with a special interest in prediction and prevention. We just finished a large multicenter RCT delirium prevention study comparing haloperidol with placebo. This is the largest ICU study worldwide in this field, and it will give us the final answer as to whether haloperidol is beneficial for ICU patients. At this moment, one of my PhD-students is conducting a multicenter nursing intervention study focusing on ICU delirium prevention. I have a strong believe that we as nurses, can make the difference. Both studies are being subsidized by ZonMw. Furthermore, two out of the seven PhD students I currently co-supervise will defend their thesis’ within short notice, which makes me really proud.

What is it that you would like to achieve in work in the next 5 to 10 years?

I would like to achieve two important things. First, consolidating my work on delirium prevention and my position as key player in this field. Second, I want to make significant progress with our recently started large scale multicenter project (MONITOR-IC ), focusing on long-term outcome of ICU patients in order to improve the quality of care and to diminish the post-intensive care syndrome (PICS). This project is directed by my colleague Marieke Zegers and myself, under the supervision of Prof. van der Hoeven.

For what can we wake you up?

For a night dive in the Philippines, Cebu Island, to see mandarin fishes and also the Spanish dancer (a nudibranch).
And of course, chocolate, preferably containing over 70% of cacao.

What is your hobby and how good are you at it?

I love to cycle. During the winter on my mountain bike and in the summer on my racing bike. For all other leisure moments, including holidays, I’m using my Koga Miyata signature with rohloff nave.

What is your biggest irritation?

Flies, especially the ones that are ruining my holiday (unpleasant experience in outback in Australia, and the many occasions during cycling uphill).

Who would you like to invite for dinner, if you had the chance?

Maybe someone find this political incorrect but I would like to have dinner with Geert Wilders, to ask him what his motives are to have such strong and…… ideas.
But, my first choice is still my wife, especially in a very good restaurant.

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