December 01, 2008 01:00 ET

Global Needlestick Prevention Group Honors Award Recipients as It Marks 7th Annual International Sharps Injury Prevention Awareness Month

SALT LAKE CITY, UT--(Marketwire - December 1, 2008) - ISIPS, the first international sharps injury prevention group, announced that five recipients are being honored for reducing sharps injuries with a Sharps Injury Prevention Award with an additional 9 recipients receiving honorable mention awards. These awards are part of the International Sharps Injury Prevention Awareness Month activities being commemorated during December, 2008 starting with World AIDS Day, December 1st.

A number of very worthy individuals were nominated for the ISIPS 2008 International Sharps Injury Prevention Awards. Nominations were reviewed by a nominating committee, comprised of representatives from Terumo Medical, Covidien, Retractable Technologies Inc., Qlicksmart, Smartstream Pty Ltd, Managing Infection Control magazine and the International Sharps Injury Prevention Society (ISIPS). We are grateful to these organizations for sponsoring the awards this year.

We thank those individuals that have made a difference in getting the message of sharps injury prevention to healthcare workers and employers around the globe. We owe a debt of gratitude to those that have provided a healthier climate for healthcare workers and others.

This prestigious award is given to only a few individuals each year. Five deserving individuals have been notified and have accepted their 2008 International Sharps Injury Prevention Awards. In addition, several individuals have been recognized with honorable mentions. ISIPS and Managing Infection Control congratulate and thank these individuals for making a difference in spreading the message of sharps injury prevention to healthcare workers and employers around the globe. This award is one way of saying thank you for reducing the number of healthcare workers and others who are injured by needlestick and other sharps injuries each year.

The ISIPS 2008 Sharps Injury Prevention Awards have been given to honor five individuals who have demonstrated creative, consistent contributions to the field of needlestick prevention. The ISIPS 2008 International Sharps Injury Prevention Award recipients are:

2008 Award Winners

-- Karen Daley, MS, MPH, RN, FAAN

Having spending the past 10 years advocating for healthcare workers and raising awareness about the need for sharps injury prevention, Karen Daley, MS, MPH, RN, FAAN, is currently a PhD candidate at Boston College Connell School of Nursing, pursuing dissertation research related to the experience of sharps injuries. Ms. Daley spent her entire nursing career as a frontline caregiver and staff nurse at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston where she began her career in 1973. She served as a senior staff nurse in Brigham and Women's emergency department until January of 1999 when she left clinical practice due to a needlestick injury that resulted in her infection with both HIV and hepatitis C. Since that time, while continuing her role as president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, she became actively engaged as an advocate for legislation to mandate use of safer needle devices in healthcare practice settings. Over the last several years, she has traveled to more than 23 U.S. states as well as Europe and Taiwan in her ongoing campaign to educate students and healthcare administrators on the importance of needlestick injury prevention. Ms. Daley was among those invited to the Oval Office to witness President Clinton sign the "Needlestick Safety Prevention Act" into law on November 6, 2000. She also spearheaded Massachusetts' passage of the strongest needlestick prevention law in the country, which mandates reporting of all sharps injuries to MA DPH. The statute links compliance with injury reporting requirements and use of safer devices with institutional licensure. "Witnessing and participating in passage of the federal legislation in 2000 has been my most rewarding experience in campaigning for sharps safety," states Daley. "I am motivated to raise awareness to prevent injuries like mine. We know we can prevent a large proportion of these injuries through proper training, and proper workplace and engineering controls. It is a challenge to raise awareness among nurses of the need to act on their rights and opportunities under the 2000 federal law -- including the requirement that employers provide them with safety devices where appropriate, and the opportunity they have to participate directly in the selection and evaluation of safety devices in their work settings. There is still a lot of work to do to eliminate preventable injuries."

-- Elizabeth Donnenwirth, RN, BFA

Elizabeth Donnenwirth, RN, BFA, is a sharps safety specialist at Winchester Hospital in Winchester, Mass. With the materials management department as her home base and primary support, her position includes identifying and reviewing appropriate new sharps safety products, many of which must also pass infection prevention, IV therapy, AORN and patient safety guidelines. Utilizing product presentations and one-on-one conversations, she conveys the message of sharps safety and brings product options for consideration. Encouraging honest feedback, she looks for the clinical drawbacks to using specific sharps safety products not only to better refine her search for the best option, but also to communicate with the manufacturers to encourage better designs in the future. "To impact future safety designs while looking for the best products on the current medical marketplace is very exciting," Donnenwirth says. "It's more than just adding a cover to the current tool; products are being redesigned entirely, and it's safer for the clinician and the patient when the entire package and procedure is refined or redeveloped." Using her specialized knowledge in sharps safety, Ms. Donnenwirth has worked diligently with the hospital staff to find the right safety products, and has shown patience and persistence in the process of dealing with surgeons and their use of safety scalpels. She has researched the use of cord blood kits, which have posed a challenge and has advocated for safer blood collection procedures.

-- Kaj Johansson, Nurse

Beginning his nursing career in 1990, Kaj Johansson knows firsthand the trauma experienced due to infection following a sharps injury. Diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1999 resulting from an occupational injury, he endured 48 weeks of medical treatment and as of 2006 is free of infection. Mr. Johansson has become a champion of sharps safety in Sweden, becoming a public healthcare nurse advisor working with the non-profit hepatitis C organization for the past six years. Developing the first network of healthcare personnel in Sweden who have been transmitted with HCV in work, Mr. Johansson used his experience and initiative in developing two non-profit Web sites: for Swedish healthcare personnel, and a safety products site in English "It's a tremendous trauma to a healthcare professional to be infected with hepatitis C and its serious medical consequences," Johansson states. "My most important focus is that no healthcare personnel have to experience what happened to me, or those other healthcare personnel who have been infected in a similar way all over the world. Not to forget all those unverified numbers who have been infected with hepatitis C in their work without even knowing it! A safe and secure working place with access to safety material and knowledge about the risks regarding blood infection in their working environment is the only way to change."

-- Adelisa Panlilio, MD, MPH

Dr. Adelisa Panlilio has focused her work of the past 20 years on assessing the risks and preventing transmission of infections to and from healthcare personnel. Recently retired from the U.S. Public Health Service after 20 years of service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Ga., she was the first EIS Officer in what was then the HIV Activity in the Hospital Infections Program (HIP). During her tenure at CDC she worked as a medical epidemiologist in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion as part of a team that helped to characterize and assess the risk of transmission of bloodborne pathogens in healthcare settings. This team also developed and assessed guidelines and measures for the prevention of such transmission. Observational studies of occupational exposure, prospective surveillance of exposed healthcare personnel, and seroprevalence surveys conducted by investigators at CDC (including Dr. Panlilio) and elsewhere demonstrated that the greatest risk of bloodborne virus infection was associated with percutaneous exposures to infected blood. Clearly the best method of preventing such transmission would be through preventing percutaneous injuries. Mid-career, Dr. Panlilio led a group that estimated the number of percutaneous injuries sustained annually among hospital-based healthcare personnel, using data from the CDC's National Surveillance for Healthcare Workers (NaSH) and EPINet. This figure, for 1997-98, was that approximately 1,000 percutaneous injuries occurred daily in U.S. hospitals. Most recently, she revised the Public Health Service recommendations on the management of occupational exposures to HIV. Her primary work in sharps safety as she retired was to help bring to life the Healthcare Personnel Safety Component of the National Healthcare Network that will enable tracking of occupational sharps injuries, continuing this function from NaSH, which she oversaw for the last seven years. "Prevention of sharps injuries requires a multi-faceted approach that includes changing the culture of safety, use of engineering controls and modification of work practices," Dr. Panlilio states. "CDC can generate guidelines and lead discussions about sharps safety but the optimal method of ensuring adherence to its recommended practices to ensure sharps safety is what I see as the greatest challenge in sharps injury prevention."

-- Abimbola Sowande, MD

A public health physician who has been practicing for 30 years, with the last 10 years actively in public health, Dr. Abimbola Sowande is the country director of the Making Medical Injection Safer (MMIS) project in Nigeria. The project has brought greater awareness of needlestick injuries to the government of Nigeria and the medical community as a whole. Dr. Sowande pioneered safe injection pilot programs in Nigeria, including unsafe syringe needle recapping practices which were reduced from 76 percent during the baseline study to 18 percent and reduction of the risk of needle injuries by the use of safety boxes increased by 75 percent. Needlestick injuries were reduced from 46 percent to 6 percent. She has helped to spread the lessons to more sites in Nigeria hence promoting IS education of healthcare workers in African's most populous country with a very weak health system. The National Administration for Food, Drug and Control (NAFDAC) has thrown its weight behind use of auto-disposable syringes and use of safety boxes in Nigeria. NAFDAC in conjunction with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the Medical and Dental Council has given a grace period to manufacturers and importers of syringes to phase-out reusable syringes in favor of auto-disable syringes. Local companies have already commenced manufacture of auto-disable syringes and safety boxes. There is a review of curriculum of nurses, environmental health officers and community health officers to include appropriate injection safety messages, including post-exposure management. Advocacy to provide free hepatitis B vaccines to clinical officers, nurses and medical waste handlers is also going on. The project has also trained journalists to educate the general public on the danger of demanding for unnecessary injections from their health givers, scavenging in medical waste and promotion of oral medications.

Honorable Mentions

Nominations for this year's awards have been truly outstanding. We would like to recognize the following individuals for the contributions they have made. It is through their efforts that the healthcare work environment continues to improve in the many areas impacting safe sharps practices.

--  Salisu Abubakar, RN, ICN is an infection control nurse and member of
    the hospital infection control committee at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in
    Kano, Nigeria.
--  Carol Cagle, BS, MT(ASCP)SM  is an  infection prevention and control
    manager at Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago.
--  Alexandra (Sandy) Derevnuk, RN is the blood and body fluid exposure
    (BBFE) coordinator at Mount Sinai Medical Center, a 1,100-bed teaching
    medical center in the heart of New York City.
--  Dennis J. Ernst, MT(ASCP) is the director of the Center for Phlebotomy
    Education Inc. in Corydon, Ind. and has been actively advocating
    needlestick prevention through education since 1997.
--  Dr. Zeinab M. Hassan, RN, PhD has accomplished pioneer work in Jordan
    in the area of sharps injuries among healthcare workers and is an assistant
    professor on the faculty of nursing at Hashemite University in Zarqa,
--  Susie Rich, RN has been responsible for significant changes within
    the emergency department (ED) at Christchurch Hospital in New Zealand where
    she serves as an associate clinical nurse manager.
--  Glen Riverstone, RN has been an emergency nurse in Brisbane, Australia
    since graduating with a Bachelor in Health Science Nursing degree three
    years ago.
--  Joel Schoenfeld, retired chairman of UNIVEC, is dedicated to helping
    others around the globe in reducing the exposure to bloodborne pathogens
    resulting from the reuse of needles and needlestick injuries and formerly
    worked with the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations (UNCTC)
    and the World Health Organization.
--  Marcia Williams, RN, BSN is an employee health nurse at Arrowhead
    Regional Medical Center (ARMC) in Colton, Calif. where she oversees
    employee health services for more than 3,500 employees.

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