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Academic Success

Policy on Medical Student Exposure to Infectious and Environmental Hazards

Methods of Prevention

Students receive ongoing education at the Zucker School of Medicine on how to protect themselves and their coworkers from exposure to infectious and environmental hazards. In addition, students are required to take an annual mandatory, online course to document that they understand those activities which increase the risk of exposure, strategies for reducing the risk of exposure, and the steps required should they become exposed. All Zucker students learn the techniques of universal precautions in the first course of the first year (From the Person to the Professional: Challenges, Privileges, and Responsibilities).

Care and Treatment after Exposure

During orientation, the Office of Student Affairs distributes identification badges that contain instructions for students who are exposed to infectious or environmental hazards. Students are required to wear these badges (alongside their School of Medicine identification cards) as a part of the security procedure. In the event of an exposure, students are instructed to (1) wash the affected area with soap and water or rinse with copious amounts of water if the eyes and/or mouth are involved, (2) inform their team and get the patient ID number, (3) notify the Office of Student Affairs, and (4) immediately report to the closest Northwell Health emergency facility, and identify themselves as a current medical student. The policy for care and treatment after exposure is fully described in Northwell’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogen Control Management Policy.

Effects of Infectious and/or Environmental Disease or Disability on Medical Student Educational Activities

The School of Medicine fulfills its obligation to educate future physicians while adhering to procedures that maintain the health and safety of patients and that protect the personal rights of students with infectious diseases or immunocompromised conditions. The Office of Academic Success works with the discipline-specific course and clerkship directors to modify the clinical activities of immunocompromised students for whom patients may pose unwarranted risks or infected students who may pose unwarranted risks to patients. Infections that must be reported include, but are not limited to, viral hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, varicella, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis and scabies. In all instances, every effort is made to maintain the integrity and equivalency of the student's modified educational experience.

References to Regulations and/or Related Policies:
LCME Element 12.8: Student Exposure Policies/Procedures
Northwell Health Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogen Control Management Policy

Last Updated: April 2019


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