(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to take the chance to welcome you all to the Bernadotte library and the Royal Palace of Stockholm.
We have all come here today in order to celebrate four brilliant, young nursing students from as many different countries.
Each one of you have been selected as the recipient of this award for your ability to identify a need in the care of the elderly or those living with dementia.
Today is also a bit of a milestone, as this is the fifth Queen Silvia Nursing Award Ceremony.
I am immensely proud of what has been accomplished in those five years: Since 2014, when we handed out the first award, we have received over four thousand new ideas, all aimed at providing better care and quality of life for the elderly or those living with a dementia disease. We have also seen several of these ideas become reality.
So, there is indeed cause for celebration!
It is always a remarkable experience to have the chance to welcome you, the recipients of Queen Silvia Nursing Award, to Stockholm for this award ceremony. And I look very much forward to hearing you speak about the fantastic ideas and innovations that have brought you here.
As you may know, I myself was a caregiver for several years; an experience that led me to dedicate myself to this cause.
You see, when my mother, Alice, was living with dementia, I met so many gifted nurses, dedicated professionals who gave so much of themselves to the person they were caring for and who had so much knowledge and compassion. Just like your most famous predecessor, Florence Nightingale said:
“Never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters, the seed roots itself.”
Even if Florence Nightingale lived and worked in a completely different time and place - this quote is so very true, even today. She is of course talking about the opportunity that every nurse has, even with limited means, to make a difference by trying something new.
And this is exactly what you, the recipients of Queen Silvia Nursing Award, have done successfully.
You have identified an area that could be improved, a life that could be made better or a solution that was lacking – and you have come up with an idea to solve that very issue. For this I commend you.
Since 1996 I have dedicated much time to the dispersion of knowledge amongst those working in care, specifically in care of the elderly and those living with dementia.
It is my utmost conviction that the future of quality in care lies in the ability to motivate the next generation of carers, nurses included, to be more creative, more driven and even more dedicated to the cause.
Therefore, it is my hope that this award may serve as an inspiration for nursing students; a way to motivate you and your peers to see the potential in these fields, and, most importantly, your own potential to make a difference for some of the most vulnerable people in our societies.
Rest assured, your hard work and care has the most incredible effect on those who need you the most.
Let me end by congratulating all four of you, Ms. Björkqvist, Ms. Löser, Ms. Nyström and Ms. Pergol, on this achievement so early in your nursing careers and please know that we all see your dedication and motivation.
I wish you all the best for the future and look forward to following your progress. Once again, congratulations.