The Queen Silvia Nursing Award is a scholarship that is given annually to nursing students in Sweden, Finland, Poland, and Germany. The scholarship was established in Sweden in 2013 as a gift to Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden. The first scholar was announced on the Queen’s birthday on 23rd of December 2013.

The recipient of Queen Silvia Nursing Award is rewarded with a scholarship of Euros 6000 in addition to a unique, individually tailored internship program. During the internship, the scholar has an opportunity to learn about the care of the elderly and people with dementia from various perspectives.

2019 marks the 5th year of the Queen Silvia Nursing Award.  Since its founding, several of our scholars have pursued their entrepreneurial interests, furthered their careers in nursing, and developed leadership and professional competence in other healthcare professions. To celebrate the 5th anniversary, we will be publishing a series of posts about our past scholars; how the scholarship has benefitted them and where they are in their careers now.

This post details an interview with Natalia Duszenska, the first Polish recipient of QSNA in 2016. Her winning idea was to build a website, where the dreams of elderly people will be described and matched with the services offered by volunteers, companies, organizations, and individuals. Her idea titled, “It’s Never Too Late to Dream

Photo: Yanan Li

Her idea was applied in nursing homes in Poland and has been quite a success. One of her patients was even able to meet the famous Polish singer Grażyna Brodzińska. Speaking about her inspiration, Natalia says,

“My patients were the reason behind my idea. I remember, when talking to one of my patients, she said that her dream is ‘death’.  I thought that for someone to dream about death was incredibly saddening. I knew I wanted to change their mindset and make it more positive. I wanted to help them find happiness in life.

I think elderly life in Poland isn’t happy or easy in the traditional sense. A lot of people don’t have the money to pay bills or buy medication so they don’t think about realizing dreams. During the stage of life defined as a person’s golden years, a lot of people find themselves in despair and without the will to enjoy life to its fullest.  Thus, I knew I wanted to find a way to make these years full of joy and hope.”

When asked about her experience of the QSNA ceremony, Natalia replied

“The ceremony was one of the best experiences of my life. I remember I was overjoyed at the thought of meeting Her Majesty but also stressed. I practiced my speech for 2 months and trained my English. At the time, I was juggling work, school, and preparation for the ceremony.  It was all worth it in the end, however, because having the opportunity to interact with Her Majesty is one of the greatest honors.

The scholarship brought many exciting opportunities for me. With the support of the Medicover Foundation, I made many connections that helped me in the development of my idea. I attended interviews, met journalists and other personalities from local TV programs. It was a whole new world for me.”

Natalia’s graduation ceremony

Since having received her stipend, Natalia went on to develop and apply her idea in various nursing homes in Warsaw. She graduated from the Medical University of Warsaw and is working on progressing in her career.

We wish Natalia all the best and thank her for the work she is doing in improving elderly and dementia care!