Susan Wilburn

Susan's global health work has revolutionized workplace safety standards, particularly concerning needlestick injuries. From clinical roles to policy advocacy, she stands as a pivotal figure in enhancing healthcare safety worldwide.

Susan received her BSN from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio and her MPH from the University of Washington in Seattle. Currently, she is an Occupational and Environmental Health Nurse Consultant at the International Council for Nurses based in Geneva, Switzerland. She is the Director of the World Health Organization and ICN’s work on preventing needlestick injuries and occupational exposure to HIV/AIDS project, as well as the Coordinator of ICN’s involvement in Health Care Without Harm – the Campaign for Environmentally Preferable Health Care. Her current position has taken her to Africa and Southeast Asia to work with nurses in those regions.

Previous to her work in the international arena, Susan was the Senior Specialist in Occupational Safety and Health at the American Nurses Association where she was responsible for coordinating policy formation and lobbying Federal agencies responsible for protecting the health and safety of workers.

Prior to working at ANA, Susan worked for fifteen years in clinical nursing as a public health and critical care staff nurse, cardiac rehabilitation program director, and researcher in cardiology prevention and treatment. She has been a member of WSNA for more than twenty years and worked on staff at WSNA as a Nurse Representative for three years and at ANA as a Labor Education Specialist. Susan has served as a member of the WSNA Legislative and Health Policy Council and is currently a member of the WSNA Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety Committee.

Both here in Washington State, across the U.S. and internationally, Susan has spoken, written and testified extensively on health and safety issues, including indoor air quality, latex allergy, workplace violence and the prevention of bloodborne exposures, as well as about the effects of work organization, staffing, and restructuring on injury, stress, and illness of nurses.

A much sought after speaker and expert, Susan has provided keynote presentations at the University of Washington Conference on Health Hazards to Health Care Workers in April 1998 and May 2000; the Michigan Nurses Association Health Hazards to Nurses Conference in May 1999; the Missouri Nurses Association Nurse Lobby Day and at the 21st Annual Union Representatives in Health Care Conference sponsored by the University of Illinois and Michigan State University. In November 1999, Susan developed a partnership with the Training for the Development of Innovative Control Technologies (TDICT) Project in San Francisco, California and together ANA and TDICT planned and presented 6 regional workshops on the evaluation, selection and implementation of safer needle devices utilizing frontline healthcare worker involvement. She also served on the planning committee and was a featured speaker at the ANA and University of Vermont satellite teleconference “Preventing Needlestick Injuries: The Time is Now! Safe Needles Save Lives” viewed in 45 states in May of 2000.

Susan is a member of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) advisory committee on allergic and irritant dermatitis, served as director of the EPA funded ANA project on indoor air quality and served on the planning committee and as a speaker for the FDA sponsored teleconference: “Natural Rubber Latex Allergy Recognition and Treatment” that was cosponsored by NIOSH, OSHA, VA Hospitals, AMA, ADA, AHA, AphA and the Health Industry Manufacturers Association.

Susan was also an invited speaker at the first annual National Occupational Research Agenda conference held at the National Academy of Sciences. She has published numerous articles on workplace and health and safety issues in The Washington Nurse and The American Nurse and in her spare time, she writes a monthly column on health and safety for the American Journal of Nursing.

Susan has translated her passion for both occupational and environmental health and safety into a rich career that has spanned the globe. Her expert knowledge and dedication will have a long lasting effect on the quality of lives for both patients and nurses through many areas of the world.