In the third of our four-part interview series featuring our new scholars, we have Rebecca Eriksson, the winner of Queen Silvia Nursing Award Sweden 2017.
Interview (in Swedish) with Rebecca Eriksson, Winner of Queen Silvia Nursing Award Sweden 2017
Tell us a little bit about yourself and why did you decide to become a nurse?
I’m a 26-year old girl studying my last semester at the Red Cross College in Stockholm, Sweden. When I am not in school, I work at Karolinska University Hospital and do sales for a telecommunication company.
I’m a curious and interested student who enjoys finding new ways to improve the healthcare industry. I decided to become a nurse as it is an incredibly interesting job where you get to meet many different people with different fates and stories. Every day, I get to experience laughter and tears.
Nursing is a broad field, but I know that I will find a niche that would eventually allow me to utilise my interest in science and the natural world as well as my desire to help people in need. As a nurse, I have the opportunity to travel and experience different cultures which are important and inspiring to me.
Why did you apply for Queen Silvia Nursing Award?
I applied for Queen Silvia Nursing Award because I saw it as a brilliant opportunity to improve and develop healthcare with my idea. Queen Silvia Nursing Award is a great platform to combine knowledge and theories from my studies with entrepreneurship and development of my ideas. It is also a way to meet new people with similar interests who could inspire and help me along the way as I develop my idea.
How did you come up with your winning idea?
Previously when I did my practice in the primary care, I met an elderly patient who was constantly tormented by his toothache. I asked him if he had brushed his teeth lately, but he could not reply because he had incipient dementia and therefore had a bad memory. Unfortunately, the healthcare staff did not know about it too as they did not keep a record of the health of the patients’ teeth.
It was then that I realised that oral care is often neglected in the primary care and in the healthcare industry in general. As such, I wanted to develop a simple idea that could help both the patient and the healthcare staff.
My idea is a toothbrush adapted to people living with dementia. The brush should have the right design and ergonomics (suitable for someone with dementia) as well as an electronic reminder function when the toothbrush has not been used for over 24 hours. The toothbrush would have a chip inside that notices if it has not been used and then sends a reminder to the mobile application on the person’s or caregiver’s phone.
With the toothbrush, I want people to pay more attention to oral care in the healthcare sector. It is one of the main causes of many infections and also causes a lot of pain for old and fragile patients whom we want to take care of in the best possible way.
What are your next steps as a Queen Silvia Nursing Award scholar?
I have just been to the Springler Pflege Congress in Berlin recently and I hope to attend more health congresses and seminars in the future. I also want to make new contacts and develop my idea further. In addition, I wish to make more missions outside Sweden and meet a lot of inspiring people. Winning the Queen Silvia Nursing Award was a very good way to kickstart my career as a nurse!
This is the third of a four-part interview series featuring our new Queen Silvia Nursing Award 2017 scholars. Check out the rest of the interviews from our Polish, Finnish and German scholars as well!