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Pinpoint methods for improvement

In December, the International Sharps Injury Prevention Society (ISIPS) sponsors International Sharps Injury Prevention Awareness month. Since 2002, the organization has encouraged increased awareness of sharps injuries, appropriately kicking off its observation on International AIDS Day, December 1. Infections from needlesticks and sharp objects such as broken sample tubes can result in the transmission of more than 20 different pathogens, including HIV, which can lead to AIDS.


Nurse leaders at the helm

According to ISIPS, nurse leaders and healthcare employers can help reduce needlestick injuries by incorporating improved engineering controls into a comprehensive program that:


[white diamond suit] analyzes needlestick and other sharps-related injuries in the work-place to identify hazards and injury trends


[white diamond suit] sets priorities and strategies for sharps injury prevention by examining local and national information about risk factors for sharps injuries and successful intervention methods


[white diamond suit] ensures the proper training of healthcare workers in the safe use and disposal of needles and other sharps


[white diamond suit] modifies work practices that potentially create sharps injury hazards in order to make them safer


[white diamond suit] promotes the awareness of safety in the work environment


[white diamond suit] establishes the proper procedures for reporting all needlestick and other sharps-related injuries


[white diamond suit] evaluates prevention effort effectiveness and provides feedback on prevention effort performance.



Supplementing the month's observation, ISIPS created the 2004 Sharps Injury Prevention Award to show its appreciation for individuals who've helped spread the message of sharps injury prevention to healthcare workers and employers around the world. Sponsors for the 2004 awards include Tyco Healthcare/Kendall, B. Braun, Smiths Medical, Becton Dickinson, and Retractable Technologies, Inc. The award winners are: Burton J. Kunik, president and CEO, Sharps Compliance, Inc.; Diane Baranowsky, nurse epidemiologist, The Stamford Hospital; Eileen Johnson, employee health nurse, North Oaks Health System; JoAnne Schwalm, infection control manager, Hackley Hospital; Pam Gill, HIV/HBV prevention, Iredell Memorial Hospital; Sally Peerbolt, employee health, Riverside County Regional Medical Center; and Lt. Cmdr. Paul Andre, USS Red Rover, Naval Hospital Great Lakes.