Dominika Rachwał, a student of the Jagiellonian University Medical College, won the Polish edition of the Queen Silvia Nursing Award. She was recognised for her ideas regarding helping patients with dementia combat their illness.
Queen Silvia Nursing Award is a scholarship offered to students of nursing and people training to become nursing professionals. The aim is to encourage them to look for innovative ideas that can help solve the most urgent health problems of Polish society. The six editions so far have attracted over 800 participants who have submitted around 1,200 ideas. This year's edition of the competition was won by Dominika Rachwał from the Jagiellonian University Medical College. She currently works as a nurse at the University Hospital in Kraków, simultaneously carrying out a second-cycle nursing programme. Her project ‘Odkrywaj świat na nowo’ [Discover the world anew] aims to help patients with dementia.
The idea is to create polysensory panels that can be mounted on patients' beds in a hospital. The adjustable panels would be made of material that allows for disinfection and could be adapted to fit the width of the bed. In addition, their design features interchangeable modules with different textures, colours and sensory elements, e.g. keyboards, cutlery, vegetables, fruits, calendar, numbers, and letters. Thanks to this solution, the patient could simulate participating in day to day activities.
The project will enable seniors to discover the world anew and reduce negative emotions. ‘During my studies as well as during my daily work, I often meet patients with dementia. I noticed that they arte often depressed and have trouble performing everyday activities. The introduction of sensory panels both in care centres and hospitals would help to stimulate the patients by simulating everyday activities, such as using the telephone, with the help of a module featuring a keyboard’, Dominika Rachwał explained.
The project ‘Discover the world anew’ is designed to stop the development of dementia. By interacting with various shapes and textures featured in sensory modules, patients would be able to reduce their tension, stress and anxiety. The solution would also provide seniors with an interesting activity to fill their free time, allowing carers to take care of other patients.
As a reward, Dominika Rachwał will receive a scholarship in the amount of 6,000 euro and a diploma from Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden. The award ceremony will take place next year in Stockholm.
The international Queen Silvia Nursing Award is held in parallel in Sweden, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, at the University of Washington in the USA and in Brazil. The award is intended to honour people who raise the prestige of the nursing profession with their ideas and create conditions for lasting, positive changes in healthcare. The award was established in 2013 by Swedish Care International as a birthday gift for Her Majesty Queen Silvia. The results are announced each year on 23 December, on the Queen's birthday.