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Stefan Krantz, winner of the QSNA 2023 in the category of nurses/nursing students

Hello Stefan, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm a 47-year-old dad with two children, originally from Eksjö, where I've spent most of my life. Currently, I reside in a house that I'm slowly renovating to bring back its original charm. My son, Samuel, who is 23, has already set out on his own, while my daughter Sofia, a vibrant 15-year-old with special needs, lives with me on a part-time basis. The house, which I purchased from my father, holds a special place in my heart. It was here in 1984 that I first picked up drumsticks, marking the beginning of my lifelong passion for music and theater, which have been constant companions in my journey.

You're on the verge of becoming a registered nurse, yet you've had a varied career before this. Could you share what you did previously and what motivated your transition into the healthcare sector?

I have a diverse educational background, holding qualifications as a healthcare assistant, firefighter, and journalist, and my professional journey has spanned an array of roles. My career has taken me from working in a warehouse to being a journalist, from a retail salesperson to a unit manager, and from a janitor to a store manager. The connecting thread in all these roles has been my engagement with people of all walks of life and ages.

My passion lies in connecting with others, fueled by a deep-seated curiosity about the stories every individual carries. A pivotal moment came while I was a unit manager at an educational association, often spending lunches alone in front of a computer. I reminisced about a time in healthcare related to my daughter's anesthesia procedure. The anesthesiologist and anesthesia nurse left such a profound, positive impact on me that I found myself thinking, "I want to be someone like that, someone who truly makes a difference." This reflection led me to pursue nursing, and now, as January 19 approaches, I am eagerly anticipating my graduation.

Do you have any guidance for nursing students about to embark on their educational journey?

Embarking on nursing studies can be more challenging than anticipated. My key piece of advice is to lean on your classmates for support and make the most of resources like Medeasy and other available study aids. Make it a point to attend lectures and feel empowered to ask questions. Most importantly, remember to enjoy the process. Avoid setting unrealistic expectations for yourself and keep in mind that with each passing day, you're moving one step closer to graduation. Each exam you complete brings you nearer to achieving your ultimate goal. And should you stumble on an exam, know that it's not the end of the world.

As you stand on the threshold of becoming a licensed nurse, what are your thoughts on your future role within healthcare? Are there particular areas or challenges you find especially compelling?

Initially, my studies were laser-focused on progressing towards specialization as an anesthesia nurse. However, as I approach the culmination of my education, my career aspirations have broadened, leaving me open to exploring various paths in nursing. I'm eagerly anticipating starting my role in the ELSA unit in Eksjö, a unique position that promises a dynamic introduction to the profession. The unit operates by staffing different clinics on 6-month rotations, akin to a residency, allowing me to gain exposure to a range of specialties and clinical environments while anchored to a consistent team. This setup not only promises a broad spectrum of experiences but also the opportunity to pinpoint where my true professional passions lie.

Could you elaborate on your award-winning idea? What inspired its creation, and what impact do you envision it making?

In one of our study simulations, we were role-playing as home healthcare nurses. We encountered a scenario where our patient had fainted in their bathroom, and we needed to initiate an A-E assessment. My partner assumed the lead role, and I was tasked with assisting. However, when she requested specific equipment for the assessments, I found myself desperately rummaging through our kit, struggling to find the necessary tools promptly. This delay, especially when transitioning from one tool to the next like the saturation meter, highlighted a significant inefficiency in our process. Reflecting on this experience at home, I was convinced there had to be a streamlined approach. My thoughts further expanded to consider the management of individuals with cognitive decline and how we could mitigate their distress in such urgent situations. This reflection was the seed that grew into my innovative idea, aiming to enhance the efficiency and sensitivity of acute care, particularly for those with cognitive impairments.

As the recipient of the Queen Silvia Nursing Award, you're positioned as an ambassador for the contest over the next year. What are your reflections on undertaking this role? Is there a specific area or topic you're particularly eager to delve into or discuss during your ambassadorship?

I'm genuinely excited about the prospect of deepening my understanding of dementia and cognitive impairments. The condition of my daughter, which effectively means her nervous system isn't fully developed, has opened my eyes to the complexities similar to cognitive impairments, sparking a profound interest in me. This connection has made the subject incredibly intriguing. Additionally, I'm looking forward to engaging in conversations aimed at dismantling the stigma associated with dementia and cognitive impairments. I'm also hopeful that with the support of QSNA's vast expertise and network, I'll have the opportunity to work on developing a prototype for my idea, bringing it one step closer to realization.

As someone relatively new to working in healthcare as a nurse, what are your aspirations for the future? What areas spark your curiosity?

At the heart of my aspirations is the desire to leverage my personality and approach to make patients and clients feel secure and acknowledged. My career thus far has been deeply rooted in direct interactions with people, making human connections a natural aspect of my daily life. Significantly, lessons from my daughter have equipped me with the ability to communicate in ways that ensure understanding and comfort for all involved. Frankly, my ambitions have evolved numerous times throughout my education to the point of losing count. However, one enduring dream from the onset of my studies was to serve as a healthcare provider at various events or venues like Astrid Lindgren's World, blending my love for music with my nursing career – that would be the ultimate dream. Beyond that, I'm intrigued by the realm of home healthcare and home services. These are areas currently facing downsizing by municipalities at a time when the need for them is surging – a contradiction that presents fascinating challenges. The question of how to foster collaboration between Regions and municipalities, moving away from a scenario where they shuffle responsibilities at the expense of the patient/client, who ends up in a care vacuum without adequate support, is something I find compelling and worthy of exploration.

Throughout your journey in healthcare, who or what has served as your most significant source of inspiration or mentorship?

Throughout my studies, a handful of classmates have been a profound source of inspiration, motivating me to strive for more. Additionally, several of our instructors have been truly inspirational, expressing deep passion and respect for the nursing profession. In the various clinical placements I've undertaken, I've had the privilege of working alongside many staff members whose warmth and unwavering commitment to patient care have been remarkable. Witnessing effective teamwork firsthand has been incredibly uplifting. Observing how every member of a unit, recognizing the indispensable role of each profession, collaborates seamlessly without ego and where every voice is valued, has reinforced my commitment and enthusiasm for this field.

What advice would you give to those contemplating a career in healthcare, especially to those considering a career change similar to yours?

Just go for it. The only barrier to being "too old" is the one you set for yourself.

Throughout my journey, I've explored between 25-30 different professions and I haven't regretted for a moment my decision to pursue further education. There were moments when I was on the verge of giving up, especially during the hardest times, but I am profoundly thankful for my classmates who encouraged me to persevere. Being "a bit older" in the class brings its advantages, notably the wealth of life and work experience I could draw upon, which proved invaluable throughout my studies.

Working in healthcare is a mix of rewarding experiences and demanding challenges. How do you maintain a balance between your professional and personal life? Are there any hobbies or activities that help you relax and keep your motivation levels high?

Finding balance in life, especially when juggling a career in healthcare, is one of the biggest challenges. After experiencing significant burnout in 2012, I've become acutely aware of how important it is to recognize my stress thresholds and understand when it's time to recuperate. My thesis, which delved into stress and its effects on patient safety, provided me with valuable insights on this topic. Additionally, being a father to a child with disabilities has taught me the importance of energy conservation and living in the moment—appreciating the here and now without getting too caught up in future plans or dreams.

To counterbalance the demands of work and personal responsibilities, I indulge in my passions for concerts, theater, motorsports, and travel. These activities allow me to experience new places and enjoy life beyond my professional commitments. I've also made a personal commitment to engage more in these pursuits to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Regular physical exercise plays a crucial role in managing stress and frustration for me. Furthermore, I've taken up speaking engagements to share my journey from being apprehensive about disability to becoming a proud parent of a child with special needs. This has been an incredibly fulfilling way to raise awareness about attitudes towards individuals with disabilities.

My drive to stay motivated is fueled by an unending curiosity to learn new things, tackle challenges, and make a meaningful difference wherever I can.


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