2018-04-19

H.M. The Queen's speech at Queen Silvia Nursing Award in Bernadotte Library, 19 April 2018

(The spoken version shall take precedence)

Madame Speaker,
Your Excellences,
Esteemed Queen Silvia Nursing Award Scholars,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning, and welcome to Stockholm and to the Bernadotte Library at the Royal Palace.

It is with great pleasure I am once again able to welcome you to this joyous occasion on which we will award this year’s Queen Silvia Nursing Award scholars from four different countries with their scholarships.

Before I continue, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all four of you on your outstanding achievements.

The care for the elderly and those living with dementia is a topic very close to my heart. For more than twenty years I have dedicated a substantial amount of my time to this cause. In 1996 I founded Stiftelsen Silviahemmet. Since then, I have tried to do my part in contributing to the dispersion of Silviahemmets knowledge and care philosophy regarding dementia - not only in Sweden but in many other countries as well.

Dementia presents a great challenge to the individual – but also to the society as a whole. Globally, the cost of dementia has risen to over 1 trillion US Dollars per year. I ask you to consider that number for a while. This is the challenge that we all face: Providing care for the over 48 million people suffering from dementia today is not enough; we must also aid research, and promote high quality education for professionals working with elderly care and dementia.

Therefore, I am immensely proud of the achievements of the scholars of the Queen Silvia Nursing Award. Dear scholars: You are all excellent examples of the possibilities that lie ahead, in a new generation of nurses. Seeing your dedication to the elderly and those living with dementia, has touched me deeply.

At this time, I would like to thank a particular guest here today. Madame Speaker of the Finnish Parliament, Mrs. Paula Risikko.

Madame Speaker, you have been the spokesperson of this award in Finland since the very first day, and your support to it has ensured its continued success and impact in your country - a country which shares so much with my own. For this I thank you. Mrs. Risikko is the former minister of health, minister of communication and minister of the interior in Finland and her education, amongst other, is of course as a nurse. This goes to show, how far one can go by deciding to become a nurse. Again, Madame Speaker, thank you for your continued support. It is highly appreciated.

In 2017 a fourth country was added to the list of those who offer their students the possibility to apply for this award. A very special country to me - as you may know – Germany, where I was born and where I still have many family members. I would like to extend my gratitude to Föderverein Anna Wassenberg for implementing the scholarship and making it possible for German students to apply and receive the Queen Silvia Nursing Award.

This year, we received over one thousand applications. Hundreds of students, in four different countries, have contributed with their ideas on how to provide a better future care for the elderly and those living with dementia.

Together, the ideas that have been contributed paint a picture of the needs and issues within the healthcare systems of the different countries. It seems, interestingly, that these systems share many of the same challenges; time is never enough and resources often scarcer than what you would wish for.

However, these healthcare systems also share something else: They are fostering young nursing students and nurses who wish to make a difference.

With this said, I would like to take the opportunity to once again congratulate you on your outstanding achievements and your most remarkable dedication to this cause – a dedication that we truly share. Congratulations.

I wish you the best of luck during the internship that is part of receiving this scholarship, and which you have all begun already. And I urge you to make the most of this opportunity and make it a valuable part of your future career. I may also take the chance to thank all our valued collaboration partners, for making this internship as well as the scholarship possible, not only here in Sweden, but in all the countries represented here today.

Finally, thank you all for your attendance today and my most heartfelt congratulations to all four scholars – thank you for taking on this cause. I am certain you will all go a long way in your careers and that you have many more accomplishments to look forward to in the future.

Thank you!