Safe And Healthy In The Workplace

Risa Hickok
Employee health specialist at Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific

Where did you receive your schooling and training?

I graduated from Hawaii Pacific University with my Bachelor of Science in nursing.


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Risa Hickok

How long have you been practicing?

I’ve been a practicing RN for eight years. I’ve been a part of the REHAB team since 2008.

What do you do in your role as employee health specialist?

I am responsible for educating and enforcing the facility’s Employee Health Program, which includes but is not limited to providing orientation and education on environmental safety standards, TB screening, managing and preventing work-related illnesses and injuries, and providing vaccinations to all our employees and volunteers.

What are some good health maintenance tips for the general public?

First and foremost, being a well-informed, active participant in your health and health care decisions has been proven to be most beneficial. Prevention is key; therefore regular, routine visits with your primary care provider is highly recommended. Also, the single most important way to prevent any infection is frequent hand washing or sanitizing in conjunction with practicing good healthy habits such as drinking lots of water, eating a well-balanced diet, getting adequate sleep and exercising regularly.

Do hospitals carry more drug-resistant strains of bacteria than other public areas? If so, is there a way to safeguard yourself in a hospital setting?

I don’t believe that hospitals carry any more drug-resistant strains of bacteria

the hospital setting because we are looking for them for the purpose of treatment and prevention. REHAB is accredited by the Joint Commission (JCAHO) and licensed by the state Department of Health to provide safe, quality, patient-centered care. Our facility is required to have policies and procedures in place for all employees and volunteers to adhere to at all

times to safeguard anyone who steps onto our campus.

What kind of ergonomic precautions does the staff take when lifting some of the weightier patients?

The goal of Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific is to assist patients to reach their highest level of functioning so they can live as independently as possible. At REHAB we do not carry

or lift the patients, we transfer them with momentum. All direct-care staff are trained by a licensed therapist to safely provide all level of assistance to the patients. Here are some general proper body mechanic tips for anyone to use:

* Keep feet shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other.

* Keep loads (what you are carrying) close to your body.

* Lift with your legs, NOT with your back.

* Know your personal limitations and ask for assistance when needed.

* Avoid twisting or bending with your back.