Happy Xmas to AVATARians & Friends,

2015 has seen loads of hard work, deep thinking (sometimes drinking), successes, losses, fame, rejection and all the myriad ways that make up our life trying to 'make IV complications history'.
AVATAR published 32 journal articles this year, with another 15 submitted or accepted. Think about it that's almost 50 pieces of NEW KNOWLEDGE that are out there in the universe, available to inform policy, practice and thinking forever - that simply did not exist last year!

Each publication represents THOUSANDS of hours of work discussing ideas, reading, writing numerous (usually rejected) grants, massive ethics applications, long negotiations with clinicians and managers, explaining the study to potential participants, heaps of data collection, data cleaning, data analysing, then drafting and redrafting the paper, maybe 10 times, before  we get that magic email saying 'accepted'.  Clearly, we all worked on our wry necks and carpal tunnel syndromes this year. But, patients deserve that we fight back at the ongoing 25-50% failure rates that occur in ALL vascular access devices, and hard-working clinicians deserve to have reliable data to use in decision making.

It's always super impressive as to the amount of mentoring and sharing that this group does. Of those 32 publications, there were 19 different first authors. Behind those 1st authors were caring, helping and sharing co-authors and teams who were happy to take turns 'serving' and turns 'leading'. To spread the load, we restructured AVATAR with more Directors to coordinate the programs. A huge thank you to Profs Marianne Wallis & Marie Cooke, Amanda Ullman and Dr Gillian Ray-Barruel who have joined Dr Samantha Keogh and myself on the AVATAR Jedi Council. Further we are starting to formalise our State based Chapters with Dr Evan Alexandrou, Peter Carr and Dr Rebecca Sharp coordinating AVATAR NSW, WA and SA respectively.

A massive congratulations to the now 'Dr' Gillian Ray-Barruel whose PhD was awarded this year. This represents the culmination of many years of hard work, sacrifices and juggling an OMG already busy life. Gillian's next goal is to publish her thesis as a book, and we know she will achieve that too in fine form (although we may disagree where the commas should go).

Other wonderful 'outputs' (LOL) this year were babies Luke, Erika and Nehal to our researchers Mel, Mari & Nahid respectively. Congratulations to you and your families. The world needs new research participants haha.

The funding arena was ugly and harsh this year, many of you worked so hard on grants, and prayed so hard (to any god we thought might listen), and many of us had to deal with our 'golden child' being rejected as an 'ugly duckling'. On the upside, we were in the lucky 13.7% receiving a national government NHMRC grant for $1.1 million for the PISCES Trial (PICC dressing & securement trial in cancer patients, no I can't remember what PISCES stands for either you guess but it's a sorely needed trial and will be great fun!!).

Overall, we were awarded $1.8 million in research funding this year. Some big winners were Dr Samantha Keogh with $120k from Qld Health for a flushing implementation project, and Tricia Kleidon with $75k from the Children's Health Queensland Foundation for a PIV bundle project. Dr Azlina Daud won the first ever IV research grant in Malaysia from the Ministry of Health, for a project on PIV clinically indicated PIV removal! I can't mention them all, but every penny counts, big or small - together it adds up to us keeping our valuable research nurses, assistants and project managers together at the Hotel AVATAR (a la The Eagles you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave).

We received generous grants/donations this year from (alphabetically :)) 3M, Baxter, BBraun, BD inc Carefusion, Centurion, Cook, Entrotech, Hospira, & Teleflex (I hope I haven't forgotten anyone!!).  Special thanks to BD who donated a large sum to support our Flushing and Device programs, and to Centurion for a large donation to our Dressing & Securement program. We thank all of our industry colleagues who demonstrated that they value high-quality research, understand that it must be independent and free of bias, and know that it does cost money and that research results must be 'pushed' for uptake!!
The skies have been full of AVATAR peeps doing the loooooong trip across the nation or the oceans speaking at conferences far and wide. WoCoVA in Hong Kong was a little bit closer to home (hooray), the US did not get any closer, but many made it to AVA anyway. We humbly contrast our experiences to that of our colleague Mr Elie Kabululu from Democratic Republic of the Congo whose poster on the OMG Study was accepted for the International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control in Geneva but was unable to attend due to financial and travel difficulties in his region.

We ramped up our education and evidence uptake activities this year. We partnered with AVAS and local clinicians and companies to run educational events in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth, and started adding more information to our website. It was a highlight for AVATAR to have Graham Walker (UK) and Nancy Moureau (USA) spend their research sabbaticals with us this year. We hope to see more of our Northern hemisphere and other global mates make the long trek 'down under'. We're all looking forward to AVAS's 1st ASM April 29-30/2016 in Brisbane, a historic event, not to be missed!

The AVATAR PhD Student of the Year (2015) award goes to (drumroll) Nicole Marsh. While only in the first year of her studies, Nicole managed to publish TEN journal articles this year, including 1st authored papers on clinicometrics, a randomised trial and a Cochrane Review on every trial ever published on dressing & securement in PIVs. Nicole also provided kind & wise counsel to many other researchers, plus calmly & methodically managed the crazy world of our multi-site trials, and her multi-children family.

The AVATAR Researcher of the Year (2015) award goes to (drumroll) Amanda Ullman. Amanda has worked tirelessly not just on her 'own' research, but has been instrumental, kind and generous in her support and mentoring of numerous other researchers. Along with other publications, Amanda's crowning glory this year was her paper in Pediatrics the most prestigious medical journal in children. She drew to the world's attention the shocking rates of CVAD complication and failure that occur globally in our littlest patients, while also being Mum to two littlies of her own.

Nicole and Amanda win ....loads more work for next year (LOL)!!! Plus a small bursary to support their 2016 attendance at an international conference to present their research.

AVATAR peeps - there are too many of you to individually say how awesome you are (but you are).

Wishing you all and your families a Happy Christmas and all the best for 2016.

Professor Claire Rickard
AVATAR Founder and Principal Director


Last AVATAR meeting of 2015

Abu Dhabi, November 2015

In November, Dr Gillian Ray-Barruel was very fortunate to travel to the United Arab Emirates as an invited keynote speaker at the 4th SEHA International Nursing Conference in Abu Dhabi. Held at the magnificent Emirates Palace, this 2-day conference welcomed delegates from across the region to engage with the theme "Innovate, Integrate, and Motivate: Leading the Journey Towards Nursing Excellence". On day one, Gillian presented the latest findings in peripheral intravenous catheter research, including the results of the One Million Global catheter study (www.omgpivc.org) for participating UAE hospitals. On the second day, she presented recent research about the assessment of infusion phlebitis, and reiterated the need for incorporating one's own clinical judgement into regular IV catheter assessment and documentation. In addition to some excellent presentations by international sepsis guru Dr Ruth Kleinpell (USA) and Dr Raeda AbuAlRub (Jordan), nurses from across the Middle East and parts of Africa shared their experiences with implementing innovative nursing research and education projects, making this an excellent and very energetic conference. On the second afternoon, Professor Ged Williams, Nursing and Allied Health Consultant for SEHA, arranged a tour of two local hospitals for Gillian and Dr Kleinpell. During the visit to the Cleveland Clinic and Sheikh Khalifa Medical Center, Ged arranged for discussion time with clinical staff to hear about the challenges and local successes of the Abu Dhabi health system. This was undoubtedly a highlight of the visit. During the evening, the conference committee arranged a dinner cruise for all the conference presenters on a traditional Dhow boat along the Abu Dhabi coastline, complete with a colourful light show on the facades of many city buildings in honour of the upcoming national day. Gillian would like to thank Professor Ged Williams and the conference organising committee for their hospitality and generosity during her visit to the UAE.

Photo: Dr Ruth Kleinpell, Dr Raeda AbuAlRub, Dr Gillian Ray-Barruel, Prof Ged Williams.

Events coming up
Recent Publications

Keogh S, Ullman A. Blood sampling in critical care - every drop counts! Qld Nurse. 2015 Aug;34(4):31. No abstract available.

Takashima M, Ray-Barruel G, Keogh S, Rickard CM. Randomised controlled trials in peripheral vascular access catheters: a scoping review. Vascular Access. 2015;1(2):10-37.

Bradford NK, Edwards RM, Chan RJ. Heparin versus 0.9% sodium chloride intermittent flushing for the prevention of occlusion in long term central venous catheters in infants and children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 11.

Takashima M, Ray-Barruel G, Keogh S, Rickard CM. Randomised controlled trials in peripheral vascular access catheters: a scoping review. Vascular Access. November 2015.

Zhang L, Marsh N, Long D, Wei M, Morrison M, Rickard CM.Microbial diversity on intravascular catheters from paediatric patients. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2015 Oct 29.

Rickard CM, Marsh N, Webster J, Playford EG, McGrail MR, Larsen E, Keogh S, McMillan D, Whitty JA, Choudhury MA, Dunster KR, Reynolds H, Marshall A, Crilly J, Young J, Thom O, Gowardman J, Corley A, Fraser JF. Securing All intraVenous devices Effectively in hospitalized patients - The SAVE Trial: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open. September, 2015;5:e008689 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008689 JIF=2.3

Ullman AJ, Marsh N, Mihala G, Cooke M, Rickard CM. Complications of Central Venous Access Devices: a systematic review. Pediatrics Oct 12. pii: peds.2015-1507. IF=5.363

If you would like to read our articles, go to  http://www.avatargroup.org.au/publications.html or email Rita Nemeth at r.nemeth@griffith.edu.au

Give us a Hi FIVE and Help Fund Intra-Vascular Excellence!
Running costs for the AVATAR group are now are approaching $1 million per year. The bulk of this money goes to research nurse wages: worth every cent!

The group has been fortunate to receive Australian government funding  for several studies, with occasional and much appreciated support from industry partners.

In order to continue our research and teaching projects, the AVATAR group has recently launched our fundraising  campaign - the Hi FIVE campaign - Help Fund IntraVascular Excellence in 5 domains: Dressing and Securement;  Flushing and Blood Sampling; Education and Evidence-Based Practice; Infection Prevention; Devices and Therapy.

We aim to raise $5 million to continue our work for the next 5 years. All donations are greatly appreciated, big or small, from community members or organizations.
Tax deductions apply.
Please visit our website, if you are interested in supporting this work: www.avatargroup.org.au

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