Life threatening situation? Always call 112

Learning to think, act and feel like a GP

General practitioner Pieter Barnhoorn obtains his PhD

Leiden general practitioner Pieter Barnhoorn hopes to be promoted to ‘Doctor of Medicine’ on 2 February. The basis of his scientific research can be found on the shop floor of the SHR GP posts (now HP De LIMES) where he works as an acting general practitioner. He is also affiliated with the LUMC, as a lecturer in both the basic training and the training to become a general practitioner and as a researcher. Barnhoorn is a man on a mission. His dissertation was born out of a desire to put humanity at the heart of healthcare.

“In healthcare, it’s all about meeting the other.”

Pieter Barnhoorn started as a general practitioner at the SHR in 2009.  He studied patient complaints about care perceived as suboptimal over the period from 2009 to 2019. What patients often complain about is unprofessional behavior by doctors. The insights from this study, as well as his own experiences in healthcare and education, stimulated him to study the concepts of professionalism and professional behaviour.  Barnhoorn: “Professional behaviour is a somewhat vague term. It sounds great, but do we all really mean the same thing by it?” For his dissertation, Barnhoorn researched what unprofessional behaviour GPs in training show, but above all, how their identity as doctors is formed. “Medical students often enter the programme with high-minded ideals, but are often in danger of slipping into a kind of mechanic attitude,” says the 45-year-old PhD candidate. With his scientific treatise, he wants to draw attention to what distinguishes care from good care. And that has everything to do with humanity. Really seeing the other person, as a human being and not as a disease.

In addition to his research that took 7 years, Pieter Barnhoorn published the book ‘Professionalism in healthcare’ in April 2021, which he wrote together with general practitioner Peter van Dijken and psychologist Janneke Geurts (both affiliated with the UMCG). This book is intended for healthcare workers and partly related to his findings of his research. The target group of the book is the doctor in training and all other healthcare workers. It invites self-reflection and conversation about the formation of your identity as a healthcare provider. “A beautiful book to give yourself or a colleague as a gift.”, Pieter adds “in all modesty”.

On 2 February at 4.15  p.m., Pieter Barnhoorn will defend his PhD dissertation entitled: ‘On becoming a GP, Professional Identity Formation in GP residents’. It is a public occasion that takes place in the Great Auditorium of the Academy Building on the Rapenburg in Leiden.

We wish Pieter the best of luck.

Here is the link to the thesis. On becoming a GP (yumpu.com)

photo P.C. Barnhoorn: Rogier Chang

Back to overview