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Tim Hickman Memorial Scholarship Awarded

Tonight, City Council awarded Katelyn Rieger with the 2019 Tim Hickman Memorial Health and Safety Scholarship.

This annual $3,000 scholarship for students in an occupational and/or public health and safety related program was established in 2006 by the City of London and CUPE Locals 101 and 107, as a tribute to employee Tim Hickman, who died in service to the community at age 21.

“Katelyn’s dedication and initiative in recognizing safety risks and identifying innovative solutions is an excellent example we should all strive for,” says Mayor Ed Holder. “Her passion and dedication around health and safety and her community make her a well-deserving recipient of this recognition. My sincere thank you to the Hickman family for your commitment to health and safety and continuing Tim’s legacy through this scholarship opportunity.”

Having recently completed her second year of nursing studies at University of Windsor, Rieger has already shown initiative and passion to help limit hazards and reduce safety risks for both patients and other staff members to maintain the health and safety of all.

Following her work in adult care and pediatric clinical areas, Rieger quickly realized the safety issues health care workers face due to incidences from medical sharp devices. Understanding the health risks of needle injuries to both patients and health care staff, Rieger set out to help prevent injuries through the development of her idea, IV Buddies.

“The IV buddies would be small hand weights that could be made fun and exciting for child patients with stickers and different colours, says Katelyn Rieger. “These weights would be easy to clean for infection and control purposes, easy to grasp and provide good vein distention. This would decrease the use pf restrictive and painful tourniquets that provoke children to resist during the injection, which also poses an even greater risk when children strike and jerk in motion.”

Rieger’s idea for IV Buddies came about when she noticed that a fist pumping motion helps assist with vein distention, making it easier for successful veinpunctures and contributes to safer care for the nursing staff and patient. “Specifically due to the complexity of pediatric patients and the anxiety many have of needles at a young age it poses a greater risk for needle pokes to the nurses,” says Rieger. “IV Buddies helps include the patient in their treatment by asking them to help increase muscle action to help with locating veins.”

Shirley Hickman, the mother of Tim Hickman, for whom the scholarship memorializes, commends Rieger for identifying potential risks and initiating an idea to help create process change.

“Everyday students go to school and workers go to work. Each of us have the opportunity to identify a potential way to look at what we are doing and if it could be done differently,” said Shirley Hickman. “Katelyn looked at the environment when children were going to have a procedure and saw a potential risk to staff and also a discomfort for the young patient. She thought of a potential way to make a change to provide comfort for the patient and lower the risk of a 'stick' injury for staff. We hope that Katelyn takes the lesson she learned from this particular scenario and is able to do a study to confirm the suspicions she has identified and if the results are as she anticipates, is able to create awareness. Identifying safety practices and opportunities for change provides an opening for each of us. We each have an opportunity to identify potential risks and opportunities to change a process or practice.”

Reiger hopes to trial IV Buddies in a pediatric setting in an effort to help implement IV Buddies within hospital facilities. She hopes a clinical trial will evaluate the effectiveness of the device based on infection control factors, decrease in anxiety to children, involvement in care as well as decrease in needle stick injuries to pediatric nurses

Reiger will receive $3000 to help with her continued studies, as well as a one-year membership to the London chapter of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE), which is pleased to support her future health and safety endeavors.