Tricia Jaworski – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Each month, the ASPHP presents an interview with a member. This month’s “spotlight” is on Ms. Patricia “Tricia” Jaworski, a full-time SPHM Coordinator for Aurora Health Care in South Eastern Wisconsin. Aurora HC employs 33,000 staff in 15 hospitals, 170 clinics and other facilities.

Tricia is active in a WI network of SPHM practitioners and coordinators, and coordinated the second annual all-day SPHM seminar for network members. Tricia is a married mother of two, including a 2017 high school graduate, who enjoys hiking with her family in her free time.

ASPHP: Tell us about your education, background and how you got started with SPHM?

TJ: I have been practicing Occupational Therapy for 22 years, 20 of those at Aurora, in a wide-range of settings including Adult In-patient, Out-patient, Work Conditioning, Hand therapy, as well as Pediatrics. Many of my patients had work-related injuries. I saw first-hand the results of manual handling and the potential benefits of safer methods of patient handling.

My patients and fellow caregivers would often express concerns regarding being able to remain in the workplace as a therapist or nurse without suffering an injury and explain that due to long-term financial and retirement concerns, they would have to remain employed longer. I spoke with a Nurse Educator who left bedside nursing due to fear an injury when she had to care for two 600-pound patients on her caseload the same shift.

I wanted to empower caregivers to practice SPHM and began working full-time in SPHM for Aurora 2.5 years ago.

ASPHP: How did Aurora HC decide to employ a full-time SPHM Coordinator?

TJ: I was fortunate to have the internal support of key Leadership who value the benefits that safer patient handling can deliver to caregivers and patients. Our VP of Nursing is a strong advocate of decreasing injuries for all RN’s and caregivers. Our Director of System Nursing Integration is a system-wide advocate for change and improvements to lower injury rates and costs associated with injury related to SPHM. Our Workers Compensation manager includes reports and data on SPHM-related injuries in her reporting to senior leadership. I also use these metrics to guide our SPHM initiatives.

I came on-board as the organization was replacing older SPHM equipment and introducing new technology. To improve programing, I find one key person at each location that “gets” SPHM and build on that. There is a SPHM committee at each hospital with Leadership, direct patient caregivers and Transfer Mobility Coaches represented. I provide a monthly communication to all Transfer Mobility Coaches across the system including Clinic based TMC’s.

ASPHP: Tell us about a typical day? 

TJ: I travel to all locations as well as work out of my primary work office. I work from the premise that each location has a different culture and “feel” with unique individuals and strive to meet them where they are at. I’m involved with post-injury SPHM Incident reviews. I provide education recommendations for caregivers involved in a patient-handling related injury for the purpose of determining how we can have the injured caregiver become more successful with future patient handling tasks. I provide initial and refresher training and education, coordinate monthly committee meetings, complete many project management tasks for obtaining equipment and promote SPHM programing.

ASPHP: What is one of your success stories?

TJ: I feel that I have improved caregivers relationship with SPHM equipment – they are capable of confidently using equipment. Injuries and costs have decreased.

ASPHP: What is one of your biggest challenges? 

TJ: Turnover!! Coaches, committee members and long-time staff members leave and/or transfer frequently. It is a constant challenge to replace that knowledge and experience.

Certification– I will be pursuing certification soon.  I have attended 3 of the last National SPHM Conferences and will formally submit my application for certification soon.

Credentials: OTR/L, I am also a member of ASPHP

Patti Wawzyniecki, MS, CSPHP