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Needlestick Policy & Protocol for Body Fluid Exposures Involving Visiting Students

This policy is specific to visiting students. Current full-time Feinberg MD students should refer to the Needle Stick and Other Blood-Borne, Body Fluid, and or Respiratory Pathogen Exposure Policy.

All visiting students are required to have personal medical insurance. You have either provided your own insurance policy for your rotation or you have purchased the Northwestern University Visiting Scholar Insurance and have been issued your insurance card. You will need to provide your insurance information should you experience a body fluid exposure. Based on your insurance policy details, you may be required to pay some out-of-pocket fees, such as balances to meet deductibles and/or co-payments. Any out-of-pocket fees will be billed to you after your visit.

If you experience an exposure to bodily fluids during your clinical rotation with the Visiting Student Program, please follow the following procedures:

  • Seek medical attention immediately. In the case of a needle stick with a contaminated needle or any exposure to body fluids, students are immediately excused from all clinical and educational responsibilities. Medical attention may include: cleansing and treating any wound, flushing splashes to the nose, mouth or skin, irrigation of eyes with saline, obtaining student blood and the patient’s blood for testing, and receiving advice regarding follow-up treatment and testing.
  • Report the incident as soon as possible so there is an official record of the time, date and location. Obtain the source patient name and medical record number. Notify your supervisor and appropriate staff at each facility as noted below.
  • Follow site-specific instructions:
    • NMH/NMG/Shirley Ryan AbilityLab/Lurie Children's: Notify the unit manager or charge nurse immediately and report to the Northwestern Emergency Department (251 E. Huron) or Immediate Care Center (635 N. Fairbanks) for treatment.
    • Jesse Brown VA: Report immediately to VA Employee Health (7 N. Damen) during regular work hours (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and to the Emergency Department at all other times.
  • You may need to have a follow up appointment with the Student Health office. You must bring your health insurance card or membership information (group and ID numbers). Treatment will be billed to this insurance and the office/billing department will handle getting all necessary information to the insurance company.