Tonight, City Council awarded Emily Sturtridge with the 2018 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.
“We are all so proud of Emily, with the compassion and empathy she is bringing to her career journey there is no doubt that she’s working to build a better London for all,” said Mayor Matt Brown. “A sincere thanks to the Hickman family for continuing Tim’s legacy and the commitment to help create a better, stronger community.”
Recently completing her second year in the Western-Fanshawe Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, Sturtridge has already shown dedication to supporting health and safety in the community. At 29, she calls herself a mature nursing student, and she wanted a way to introduce many of her 19 and 20 year-old classmates to the reality some of their more vulnerable patients face.
In one nursing class during her first year, she presented her idea to create Christmas gift bags for homeless people in the London area, and immediately collected $200 from her peers for the initiative. They raised more than $1600 in their first year, and this past year, gathered personal hygiene items, warm socks and other goodies to create at least 50 care packages. The students walked London streets delivering the packages and having conversations.
“A large population of those who seek healthcare, kind of the revolving door of healthcare, having to come back time and time again, are those who come from more of a vulnerable background,” said Emily Sturtridge. “I think having a good understanding of the possible people that we’re going to meet in our line of work, it’s helpful for me and for my peers.”
The engagement Sturtridge has created with her classmates is “inspiring” to Shirley Hickman, the mother of Tim Hickman, for whom the scholarship memorializes.
As one of the scholarship committee members who chose Sturtridge’s application, Hickman looked for candidates with strong community involvement, using health and safety to make their community better. The Hickman family message is about sharing best practices to prevent injuries to other workers, and Mrs. Hickman saw Sturtridge’s effort to offer kindness to vulnerable people and progress in the nursing field as heartfelt.
“She understands the hazards of living on the street,” said Shirley Hickman. “She’s creating awareness with the other students by having them engaged. She’s promoting awareness, acceptance and education. I think our family feels very privileged. I know everyone I’ve spoken to is like, wow, couldn’t be a more deserving person.”
Sturtridge plans to continue her homelessness awareness initiative, educating current nursing students as she continues her studies, and annually returning to Fanshawe and Western as an alumnus. She points to her nursing program’s focus on equity and social justice in treating patients.
Sharing best practices with how to work with vulnerable populations with her classmates is something Hickman described as exactly what this scholarship is about.
Sturtridge 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.