Beyond the scientist: Roy Kohnen

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Where and when were you born?

Heerlen, in the evening of December 8th, 1978.

Where do you live and with whom?

Currently I’m living in Bocholtz in the south of Limburg and part of the time in Münster (Germany) with my girlfriend.

Who was your role model when you were a kid?

There was no specific role model. I’ve read a lot of books. There were many role models, or at least parts which I felt attracted to. My grandfather was the reason to become a doctor and primarily heart surgeon. He had an heart valve replacement in the mid-eighties and I’ll never forget the first time I heard the click of the valve.

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

I’m working as an Elderly Care Physician and PhD Student Acquired Brain Injury. So I didn’t become a heart surgeon. I liked the work on the ward more than being in the operating room. The work had too little variation in my opinion. I already wrote a case report and a prevalence study. At the moment I’m busy with an integrative review.

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

I was the first to report the prevalence on the Locked-in Syndrome. I was an Elderly Care Physician in training when I established the prevalence and characteristics of patients with the classic form of Locked-in Syndrome in Dutch nursing homes. In the first year of my training, I became the treating physician of a patient with the Locked-in Syndrome. At that moment I didn’t knew what it was. After a literature search I realized that we didn’t know anything about it in the nursing homes.

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

First I want to complete the integrative review and the empirical part of my PhD. My PhD is about neuropsychiatric symptoms, in particular aggression and inappropriate sexual behaviour, and the psychotropic drug use in young patients with acquired brain injury in Dutch nursing homes. This is also unknown in the nursing homes. The ultimate goal is to enhance the quality of care for these patients and for the patients with the Locked-in Syndrome. My research questions are based upon an inventory with a sample of nurses and professional carers in a nursing home. To them aggression and inappropriate sexual behaviour were the most problematic neuropsychiatric symptoms with the highest impact. They would like to receive more education to handle these symptoms. I would like to implement my findings in guidelines and to teach colleagues, nurses and (professional) carers.

For what can we wake you up?

I’m from Limburg, so you can wake me up for a rice pie (rijstevlaai).

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

I played volleyball at a recreational level. With my volleyball club in Bocholtz we were third in an international tournament in Germany. When I worked as an physician at the cardiology department in Zwolle (Isala Klinieken), in my second year I formed a team with nurses at the Isala Volleyball Tournament. We won. At the moment I have little time to do it and I enjoy walking as an alternative.

What is your biggest irritation?

My biggest irritation are slow car drivers on the left lane of highways. Especially when I’m on duty and I have an emergency.

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

It will always be my girlfriend.


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