Fluid Exposures

Medical Student Fluid Exposure Procedures

Specific procedures for the Reno and Las Vegas campuses.

As a medical student and later as a physician, you will be exposed to patients with all varieties of infectious diseases. It is your responsibility to know the mode of transmission and prevention of these diseases. You will be expected to avoid physical contact with all bodily fluids and take appropriate preventive measures to protect yourself from patients with an infectious disease. Also, you will be expected to protect your patients from exposure to you if/when you have a contagious disease.

All medical students will be educated and trained to prevent or reduce exposure to blood borne pathogens. Safety of medical students in the pursuit of their clinical training is of the utmost importance. Because of their inexperience, students have traditionally represented a large group reporting exposures to blood in hospital and clinical settings. For this reason, procedures have been developed to inform students of potential risk and teach them techniques and procedures designed to decrease or avoid exposure. In addition, follow-up, diagnostic and treatment regimens have been implemented to deal with exposures after they occur.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) adopted regulations in 1988 to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for all employees and students. These regulations safeguard all employees and students who have a risk of occupational exposure to blood or infectious materials. All students must undergo an annual training program.

Training includes:

  • Infection Control
  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Exposure Control Plan

In-Person Training for MS I students is scheduled annually on the Reno campus.

MS II, MS III and IV students are required to complete an annual OSHA training in June of each year. A notification from the Compliance Office will be sent as a reminder each year.

MS III Students: Please note your annual training requirement must be completed by the end of your second year prior to beginning clerkships.

MS IV Students: Please note your annual training requirement must be completed by the end of June of your third year to meet the requirements for out of state electives you may apply for at the beginning of your fourth year.

Questions: Email Jodi Shpargel

Protocol for Student Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens:

All exposures must be reported to the Student Health Center in Reno.

Students are responsible for seeking both immediate and follow up treatment for exposures. Treatment includes laboratory evaluation for HIV, hepatitis and other infectious diseases. Students who desire counseling should contact the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs.

Students' medical information, including laboratory evaluations, will remain strictly confidential and will be maintained separately from student files.

General Guidelines for Exposures and Treatment:

  1. An incident report is completed at the time of the exposure, regardless of the facility in which the student is working.
  2. Initial laboratory work should be obtained within three days following the exposure in the case of non-priority exposures or immediately following the exposure in the case of priority exposures.
  3. Follow up laboratory studies must be done six weeks following exposure, and again six months following exposure. Copies of the test results must be forwarded to the Student Health Center (Reno).
  4. The Student Health Center will maintain exposure information in a confidential file that is separate from the students' medical record. These exposure files will be kept in a secure location with restricted access.
  5. Students who have failed to send the proper documentation of laboratory or other follow up treatment will receive a reminder card. If there is no response to the reminder card, after two attempts, a certified letter will be sent to the student reminding his/her of the importance of follow up. If there is no response to the certified letter, no further attempts will be made to contact the student. The student will then be responsible for any further care.
Follow up Care:

As a professional, it is your responsibility to follow up on your own laboratory work and obtain necessary treatment. If laboratory work and other treatment is obtained at a facility other than the Student Health Center (Reno) or the UNLV Student Health Center, please provide a copy of your laboratory results to the Office of Student Affairs and send a copy of your laboratory results to the Student Health Center, Reno.

If you have been immunized, and are Hepatitis B antibody negative (by lab test) and you are exposed to a Hepatitis B positive patient, you should get HBIG and Hep B vaccine boosters.