Although attention to proper procedures can reduce risk, health care professionals (including students) are at risk for exposure to infectious agents due to the nature of their professional education. All students will be instructed on risks, prevention and treatment of exposures to blood and/or body fluids, and other exposures prior to patient contact. Universal precautions should be adopted wherever a student may have a risk of exposure.
Students who are stuck with a contaminated needle, or otherwise subjected to contamination by bodily fluids from a patient, have a small but very real risk of acquiring a serious infection from the host. All incidents of blood or body fluid exposure must be reported. Students will be immediately excused from any curricular activity. Students should follow the following procedures:
- Wash needle sticks and cuts with soap and water;
- Flush splashes to the nose, mouth, or skin with water;
- Irrigate eyes with clean water, saline, or sterile irritants.
- Inform supervisor of exposure immediately;
- Request assistance from other staff members as needed;
- Obtain Source Patient name and medical record number, if known for purpose of exposure management.
Students exposed to COVID-19 should follow the steps outlined here: https://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/md-education/docs/covid-19/fsm-algorithm-for-covid-exposure-symptoms.pdf
In case of exposure at
NMH: Notify the unit manager or charge nurse immediately and call NMH Corporate Health (312) 926-8282 (If this is after hours or on a weekend, the office will be closed, but an answering service will take your call and will page the nurse on call.)
Shirley Ryan Ability Lab: Corporate Health (312) 926-8282 (If this is after hours or on a weekend, the office will be closed, but an answering service will take your call and will page the nurse on call.)
Lurie Children’s: Corporate Health (312) 926-8282 (If this is after hours or on a weekend, the office will be closed, but an answering service will take your call and will page the nurse on call.)
Jesse Brown VA: The student should report immediately to VA Employee Health (7 North Damen) during regular work hours (Mon-Fri 8 AM - 4PM) and to the Emergency Department at all other times.
If at a physician's office or other site, contact Corporate Health at NMH (see above).
Stroger Hospital: All Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS) Feinberg Medical students exposed to blood and/or body fluids in the course of their job duties shall have appropriate post exposure evaluation and follow up by the staff of CCHHS Employee Health Service (EHS). If a medical student sustains exposure to blood and/or body fluids in the course of their job duties, they should follow the following procedures:
Report to CCHHS Employee Health Services (CCHHS EHS) or, if CCHHS EHS is not open, to the Emergency Department. CCHHS EHS is located at:
Stroger Hospital Administration Building 3rd Floor, West Wing, Suite 3001900 West Polk Street, Chicago, Illinois 60612
Phone: (312) 864-1970 Fax: 312-864-9566
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00AM until 3:30PM
Students should not receive any bills for treatment, but if they do, all invoices should be sent to:
Director, Office of Risk Management Northwestern University
2020 Ridge Avenue #240
Evanston, IL 60208-4335
While the exact reporting procedure varies from hospital to hospital, the first step is to contact the appropriate person immediately. This individual deals with such incidents on a routine basis. He or she can order testing of the patient and you, provide counseling regarding the need and desirability of further testing or treatment, and answer any questions you may have.
Students will receive this education at new student orientation and again before starting clerkships.
Related LCME Standard
12.8 Student Exposure Policies/Procedures
Last Updated: 6/22/2020