News items Mark van den Boogaard appointed professor of Nursing Science in Acute and Intensive Care

25 September 2023

Mark van den Boogaard has been appointed professor of Nursing Science in Acute and Intensive Care at Radboud university medical center / Radboud University. He investigates long-term consequences of admission to the Intensive Care. He also focuses on prevention and treatment of delirium in Intensive Care patients.

Patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) are critically ill. Therefore, it is not surprising that the priority of ICU professionals is to keep the patient alive. This often succeeds, but that does not mean that the book is closed. A large proportion of these patients suffer from long-term consequences of their ICU admission.

Former ICU patients are very tired and often have pain. They also experience mental and cognitive complaints. Examples of these are anxiety and depression as well as memory and attention problems. Mark van den Boogaard from the Department of Intensive Care Medicine of Radboud university medical center focuses on these chronic consequences of an ICU admission. He also aims to improve the prevention and treatment of delirium in ICU patients.

Too little attention

In 2016, van den Boogaard started the MONITOR-IC project, which follows patients after their ICU admission. Together with his colleagues, he collects data on their physical, mental and cognitive functioning, and about their perceived quality of life. ‘There was far too little attention for patients after discharge from the ICU’, says van den Boogaard. ‘And that is unjustified, because more than half of these patients experience long-term consequences.’

The project is currently running in seven Dutch hospitals and includes more than ten thousand patients. In the coming years, van den Boogaard aims to put the results of this project into clinical practice by sharing them with healthcare providers and patients. This enables patients to compare their results with those of other ICU patients, which provides more insight into their complaints. Using this information, patients can also create a personalized treatment plan together with healthcare providers.

Acute confusion

Van den Boogaard's other focus is delirium: a state of acute confusion. Almost half of the patients in the ICU have delirium, and this can have serious consequences. For example, delirious patients pull out their intravenous line or breathing tube. They also require prolonged mechanical ventilation and spend more time in the ICU. In addition, patients with delirium more often experience long-term complaints such as anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

‘Nurses are essential in the prevention, early recognition, and treatment of delirium’, says van den Boogaard. ‘They ensure that the patient gets sufficient rest and feels safe, which reduces the risk of delirium. Because their contact with the patient is very intensive - in the ICU, one nurse often cares for one patient – they are usually the first to notice delirium and can take action quickly. I want to further improve these processes.’

Given his past, specific attention to the role of ICU nurses is not surprising: van den Boogaard worked as a nurse at the ICU bedside for twenty years. ‘I am familiar with the nurses’ daily routine and the problems that they encounter. That is why the nurse's perspective will always remain the starting point of my research.’


Van den Boogaard (Nijmegen, 1965) studied nursing at the Maasziekenhuis Boxmeer and worked as an Intensive Care nurse at the Radboud university medical center until 2007. He also studied Nursing Sciences at Utrecht University. Van den Boogaard received his doctorate cum laude from Radboud University in 2012 for research into delirium in the Intensive Care Unit (dissertation title: ‘Delirium in Intensive Care Patients; detection, impact, prediction, prevention, and biomarkers’). After his PhD, he worked as a senior researcher in the Department of Intensive Care Medicine of the Radboud university medical center, where he has been leading the MONITOR-IC project into long-term consequences of ICU admission since 2016. Van den Boogaard has received several grants, including from ZonMw (2014, 2016, and 2022) and from the Dutch Healthcare Institute (2021). He also won several prizes, including the Anna-Reynvaan science prize in 2015 and the Dr. Peter Moleman Penning in 2018.

Van den Boogaard has been appointed professor of Nursing Science Acute and Intensive Care for a five-year term, effective from September 1, 2023. 

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