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An interview with Stephan Wengel, Germany’s 5th Queen Silvia Nursing Award winner

What sparked your interest in nursing studies?

‍After my technical training, I really wanted to do something with people. After pursuing a voluntary social year, I decided to train in nursing.

What is it about nursing that continues to intrigue you, or keeps you learning and “on your toes?”

‍Personal growth is what drives me, that I want to develop and learn. Someone once said to me, "If you want to change something in nursing, you have to stand up, then you can achieve something!"

How did you come about specializing in dementia care?

‍I originally wanted to go into pediatric nursing, but I couldn't emotionally process this work well. That's why I then specialized in the elderly. I wanted to help enable them to have a nice old age. I then switched to neurology because the field fascinates me so much!

Is there something unique about nursing opportunities in Germany that you can share?

‍In Germany, the form of training is very special. Instead of studying nursing at a university, there is a dual system with school visits and work in different institutions, where you can already earn a salary. This form of training also makes it easier for people changing their career to learn this great job!

Where do you see yourself as a nurse leader in 10 years?

‍I can't really answer that as there are so many possibilities! I could become anything I want. I could be an entrepreneur myself, or continue to work in nursing as a ward manager, in nursing management or even in politics. In any case, I really hope that my winning idea of the fruit gums is well received!

What do you wish to share about your nursing experience since the start of the pandemic?

‍Unfortunately I can't say much positive about it. I am a bit disappointed with the politicians and their measures. I myself try to do my best on the ward I manage and I demand the same from my employees! I wish there was more cohesion among nurses!

How have you remained resilient throughout these very tough few years as a healthcare professional?

‍With a lot of confidence and an open mind! Sometimes you have to say when something is wrong and fight to make things better. And above all, don't lose your sense of humour!

What is your advice to nursing students who are just entering their studies / nurses who are just entering the industry?

‍I would like to advise those changing thier career to dare and gladly, even if you are not that young, to start an apprenticeship! I would advise all nursing students to persevere, hardly any profession is as diverse as nursing and full of so many great stories!

How did you learn about the QSNA and what prompted you to apply?

‍To be honest, I didn't know anything about QSNA for a long time until a colleague came up to me and told me about the award. My idea of the Sweet Nutrient Booster was already slowly forming in my head there and I had told her about it, she advised me to apply! I like Sweden very much and even have friends there, so I quickly made the decision to apply!

Summarize your winning idea in a sentence and please let us know why you think this is important to share with the international nursing community?

‍It is a fruit gum with many nutrients that are important for nutrition, which are particularly suitable for older people and people with dementia due to their colour, consistency and taste. What is special is the form of the application, as older people and people with dementia can independently supply themselves with important nutrients without the caregivers having to take up a lot of time! Besides, everyone likes to snack!

Will you be bringing your winning idea further, i.e. to market or to development?

‍It is my great wish to bring my Sweet Nutrient Booster onto the market and I am already in talks with different companies about it! I'm sure that it won't be long before my fruit gum is available to everyone and can help many people!


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