Interested in advancing your nursing career? From 2018, one of the worlds’ best specialist nursing education in dementia care will be available online in English for nurses around the world. This post-graduate program offered by Sophiahemmet University and Silviahemmet Foundation in Sweden. Silvia Nurse program is designed for registered nurses who wish to deepen their knowledge in the fast-growing dementia care market.

In Sweden, Silvia Nurse Specialist Nursing Programme in Dementia Care is offered since 2008 and it is well recognised across the country. Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden awards the students with the title “Silvia Nurse” in a special ceremony upon successful completion of the program.

The educational design of this online, part-time program allows students to combine their current work with studies and to gain a specialist education without leaving their home country. The quality of the studies is ensured by active interaction with teachers and classmates as well as personal assignments and feedback.

 

Interview with an alumnus student – Christine Hamann

Christine Hamann has completed the 1-year Silvia Nurse Specialist Nursing Programme in Dementia Care in 2010 and she agreed to tell us about her studies as well as about how it helped her to advance the career. Currently she is the Chief of Operations at Pro Seniore Residenz Wasserstadt, one of the biggest senior living institution in Berlin, Germany. She leads the whole elderly care centre which consists of 130 colleagues and 450 elderly people.

 

Christine, what made you want to apply for the Silvia Nurse program?

Dementia care is a growing industry in Germany, and I wanted to tap on it by advancing my career in this field. However, back then, I was a nurse in intensive care. I had worked in special senior living that equipped me with the knowledge on medications for diseases but not on dementia care. I had no experience or background in the dementia field to work in the elderly care industry. Hence, I decided to take up a post-graduate programme in dementia care to equip myself with the necessary skills set to further my career.

Having trained in dementia care is a unique skill set, a great selling point and competitive advantage over the rest of my peers in the industry.

Describe briefly what was the Silvia Nurse program like?

The teaching and learning style in Sweden is very different and I very much prefer it. The professors are not dogmatic but are very valuating instead. Professors and students work very closely together whereby the professors actively share their own experiences and knowledge, the students are also expected to contribute in sharing their own experiences and it enhances the learning experience.

Sophiahemmet has very high-spirited staff who love their job and teach with passion. The teachers are very engaging and competent in their field of study. I am extremely grateful to be able to experience their love and passion. I can see how much dedication they have and it is obvious that teaching is not just a job to them.

What are the main takeaways from the course and how are you applying them in your work today?

Dementia care is a specialised knowledge that not only enhances the caregiving experience but also improves all other aspects related to dementia caregiving. Furthermore, the Silvia Nurse program trains and equips students holistically in an inter-disciplinary approach.

I have learnt and adopted a better approach in dealing with families and relatives of the elderly, advising and communicating with them. Also, I am much better at people and team management. I can more effectively resolve troubles and conflicts within the team. Caregivers in dementia care are very emotional, and as such, after the course, I am better aware of the feelings of a dementia caregiver. I can understand the perspective of my team members, and resolve the conflict in an alternate manner. This is very important for me as the chief of the elderly centre. Besides that, I can help others in the different departments to deliver better work by giving pointers and discuss on how to improve. For example, I recall there was once, the caregivers in the dementia care unit wanted to decorate the rooms to better suit the dementia patients. Through what I have learnt from the Silvia Nurse program, I could provide relevant feedback on their colour choice of the decoration, supervise and suggest improvements.

These skills and knowledge from the Silvia Nurse program are crucial in helping me manage my teams to deliver better work. Being trained in dementia care gives me the credibility where my team members can trust to rely on me and my opinions. As a leader, I have to understand the challenges and problems my employees face in their work with demented people in order to provide the support they need and to ensure proper work conditions to do a good job. In this course, I got that knowledge and it was an important factor for me, to become a better leader in dementia care.

After being trained in dementia care, I understand the importance to send my employees to similar education and training in dementia care.

Who would you recommend taking this course?

I am sure that this course will be beneficial to all personnel, be it elderly nurses or registered nurses who work with elderly patients, or management/team leader in the unit. To achieve and deliver better results in care centres, the whole unit should be trained to further spread the good practice internally.

I would recommend nurses with a bachelor degree to take up this course, especially for nurses who are seeking to take up leadership positions in care centres in the future. I believe that this course will be very interesting to them because the knowledge gained will develop them to be much better leader in the elderly industry.

As a practical and realistic person, I wanted a proper higher education degree backed with research knowledge and credit points that are recognised, which was clearly what Silvia Nurse program has to offer.

Contact Swedish Care International (info@sci.se) if you are interested in becoming the pioneer batch of this program in English!