UW nursing students, alumni to compete for prestigious dementia care scholarship

UW nursing students, alumni to compete for prestigious dementia care scholarship

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 1, 2020

The UW School of Nursing has been selected as the first academic partner in the United States to bestow the Queen Silvia Nursing Award (QSNA) for dementia care.

“We are proud to have been selected as the academic partner for the inaugural Queen Silvia Nursing Award in the U.S.,” said UW School of Nursing Executive Dean Azita Emami. “This reaffirms the close ties between the nursing school, the university, the Seattle community, and Sweden. It also recognizes the School of Nursing’s leadership in dementia care research and COVID-19 response.”

The launch of the University of Washington Queen Silvia Nursing Award (UWQSNA) in the US in 2020 coincides with the World Health Organization’s celebration of International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, a global effort to promote the two professions in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

Created in honor of Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden and recognizing her long interest in and support of dementia nursing, the award is open to any UW nursing student or UW-graduate registered nurse. Applications must include an idea or solution addressing COVID-19 challenges in the health care environment. Special consideration will be given to submissions that focus on the well-being of elderly and those living with dementia.

The recipient will be awarded a scholarship of 6000 euros (about USD $6,500). The awards ceremony, circumstances permitting, will be held at the Royal Palace in Stockholm next spring with HM Queen Silvia personally presenting the recipient’s certificate. The award recipient will also receive support and mentoring from faculty with the UW School of Nursing in applying for additional funding to develop and/or implement their winning idea, and developing the Dementia & Palliative Education Network for Registered Nurses (DPEN-RN) at the UW.

“Developing a dementia-capable health care workforce is one of the top priorities for the UW,” said Dean Emami, whose research expertise is in dementia. “This award will help us educate, train, and elevate the roles of nurses in dementia care—especially during the coronavirus pandemic—in the U.S. and around the world.”


The QSNA was established in 2013 as a birthday gift for HM Queen Silvia in recognition of her long-term commitment and dedication to elderly care and the quality of nursing for people with dementia. This year’s award will not only focus on those working with dementia patients, but also those that address COVID-19 challenges in healthcare environments. The scholarship is awarded annually in Sweden, Finland, Poland, Germany, and Lithuania.


Dementia is a profoundly challenging health care issue that affects an estimated 5 million people in the U.S. who are cared for by 15 million family and/or friend caregivers. There is no known cure. The impact of dementia is personal, emotional, economic, and systemic.

The impact the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 have on older adults with dementia, especially those in memory or other care facilities, has drawn increasing concern from healthcare providers, caregivers, and family members. The dementia patient population suffers acutely from isolation, disruption to their daily routines, and confusion when care and communication is moved to on-line platform. Additionally, this population is at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, as they tend to be older adults and often have serious underlying medical conditions.

“More than three million registered nurses comprise the largest segment of the U.S. health care workforce,” said UW Associate Professor of Nursing Tatiana Sadak. “Nurses are well positioned to lead dementia care transformation by virtue of their training in holistic, patient- and family-centered teams, and their capacity to coordinate both the medical and psychosocial aspects of care.”


The UW School of Nursing has long ties to Sweden. Prior to joining UW, Executive Dean Azita Emami was an endowed professor in elderly care research at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet (KI). In 2019, UW and KI signed an agreement to strengthen collaboration in areas of teaching and research impacting population health. The five-year agreement details a range of possible collaborative projects and activities to explore, including faculty and student exchanges, joint research activities and individual faculty partnerships.


Practicing registered nurses who have graduated from any of the three University of Washington nursing programs (UW Seattle, UW Bothell, or UW Tacoma) with a bachelor’s of science in nursing degree and current UW undergraduate student nurses may apply for the scholarship online through November 6, 2020.

*Applications must include an idea or solution to addressing COVID-19 challenges in healthcare environment and special merit will be given for submissions that focus on the well-being of elderly and dementia-diagnosed communities.*



Please contact Shari Ireton, UW School of Nursing Assistant Dean of Marketing and Communication, for additional information (slireton@uw.edu, 206.351.6058).