News & Events

STIK Beeper: Rapid Reporting System for Blood/Body Fluid Exposures

From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
January/February 2004 Edition

by Marlene Freeley
MS, RN, CS, Director Occupational Health Services Brigham & Women’s Hospital;

Katherine Twitchell
MS, RN, CS, Nurse Practitioner Occupational Health Services Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Brigham and Women’s Hospital Occupational Health Service has recently implemented a new program designed to help employees who are exposed to blood or body fluids during the course of their work get rapid attention.

The "STIK" beeper is a 24-hour rapid response system for employees to use if they sustain a blood or body fluid exposure. Employees can activate the STIK Beeper simply by paging "3-STIK" (37845).

During the day, the Occupational Health nurse practitioners respond to the page, evaluate the exposure and ensure the employee is seen immediately in the Occupational Health Service clinic. During "off hours" the Off Shift Nurse Administrators respond and alert the ED staff to provide prompt evaluation so the employee does not have to wait to be evaluated.

The STIK Beeper system was put in place during the fall of 1999 for several reasons:

  • Employees did not understand that it was optimal to begin treatment for blood/body fluid exposures immediately (preferably within one to two hours after an exposure).
  • Employees sometimes waited until the end of their shift to seek evaluation and treatment.
  • Employees often felt conflicted on whether to leave their patient assignment on the unit or the OR to be evaluated in Occupational Health.

To launch the program colorful flyers and posters were made and hung in prominent places throughout the hospital including every unit. The posters have a catchy slogan: "Think Quick! Page STIK!" with a picture of a clock running. Communication regarding the program was disseminated to nursing and physician groups through various meetings. The weekly bulletin in the hospital also ran an article on the program.

As part of the communication and educational component the red badges worn by all employees were updated. On one side are instructions on what to do in case of bloodborne pathogen exposure and on the other side what to do in case of a fire. The new badges were given out as part of program during the Brigham & Women’s Hospital Needle Safe Week. Badges will continue to be available to employees at all security desks.

So far the STIK Beeper has been positively received. One of the departments has even asked that the STIK Beeper also be designated for employees to report "near misses". Employees occasionally find a blood contaminated instrument carelessly left in the linen or inappropriately disposed of. These situations are viewed as critical because they could have resulted in someone becoming significantly exposed. The hospital is tracking the "near misses" and providing rigorous administrative follow up with the individuals responsible for the "near miss".

The STIK Beeper has become an excellent educational tool. It has increased employees awareness of the importance of reporting blood or body fluid exposures quickly. The marketing surrounding the STIK Beeper has also stimulated a number of requests from various nursing and physician groups to Occupational Health Practitioners to speak to their groups about bloodborne pathogen exposures. It is our hope that through the STIK Beeper all blood or body fluid exposures will be reported immediately.

Marlene Freeley and Katherine Twitchell can be contacted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at 617.732.6034 or at or