Nienke Bleijenberg, RN, PhD, is a professor at the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, and an assistant professor Nursing Science at the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands. She worked as a community care nurse with mainly geriatric patients living at home with high complex care needs. During her work it became apparent to her that scientific knowledge is needed in order to change and improve the care for older people and the gap between knowledge and practice. During her PhD study she developed a multicomponent proactive primary care program to enhance daily functioning of multimorbid, frail older people. In an ambitious randomized controlled trial, 52 primary care centers, over 3000 patients and more than 350 caregivers participated. Moreover, Dr. Bleijenberg developed a training program for the nurses in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht. During her work as a PhD student Nienke completed the prestigious Post Graduate Master Epidemiology at Utrecht University.
Her current research program focuses on the preservation of daily functioning, prevent acute events, and improving patient outcomes of frail older people and those with multimorbidity living in the community. Some of her recent grants (N= 7, combined funding 180 K€) are the further re-development, evaluation and implementation of the proactive primary care program for frail older people in the community, in which routine care data from primary care centers and community care data from the municipality will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Further, an interprofessional training program has been developed and is currently being evaluated to train professionals in the community. Also an ambitious project started together with three universities to evaluate the impact and outcomes of community care nursing on patient health outcomes and health care consumption. Finally epidemiological studies to better understand functional decline in older people are being conducted using large national and international datasets. She has published over 25 international peer reviewed publications, 10 practice publications and contributed to three book publications. Her knowledge extends to nursing, geriatrics in primary care, home care, and epidemiology. She is currently supervising 4 PhD students and one postdoctoral researcher.