penn surgery
penn surgery home penn surgery clinical penn surgery education penn surgery research penn surgery administration
medical students home
Canvas logo

Training Program

Infectious Disease Precautions

All students enrolled in clerkships must take measures to prevent exposure to blood or body fluids. This policy applies to all students at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.


  1. Every patient and every patient specimen must be assumed to be a potential source of infection.
  1. Every effort must be made to avoid needlestick injury or injury with other sharp instruments contaminated with blood or body fluids. Contamination of open cuts, abrasions, or mucous membranes with blood or other body fluids must be avoided.
  1. Gloves will be worn whenever contact with blood, body fluids, mucous membranes, or non-intact skin is anticipated. Gloves must be changed between patients or when torn. Gloves will b e worn in the following situations:
    1. Handling soiled items
    2. Touching/cleaning soiled surfaces
    3. Performing invasive or vascular access procedures
    4. Handling of blood or body fluid specimens and all fluid-filled containers
    5. Starting IVs, drawing blood, and manipulating stopcocks, or lines
    6. Emptying the drainage from a urinary catheter. To prevent cross-contamination from one catheter drainage spout to another, medical students should discard used gloves, wash hands, and put on new gloves before emptying a second patients drainage bag.
  1. If aerosolization or spattering of blood or body fluids is likely, additional barrier precautions, i.e., glove, mask, and protective eyewear must be used.
  1. Careful handwashing between patients and following contact with patients blood or body fluids is essential, even when gloves have been worn.
  1. Needles should not be bent, broken, or recapped into their original sheaths, removed from disposable syringes, or otherwise manipulated by hand before disposal. Needles should not be changed between venipuncture and injection of blood into blood culture bottles. If a needle must be removed, use the slot available on the needle disposal containers, or use a hemostat. If recapping is unavoidably necessary, either use a hemostat to hold the cap or place the cap on a level surface and thread the needle without holding the cap. Needles and all sharp instruments must be disposed of in appropriate needle disposal containers. Such items must not be left on trays or on bed linens.
  1. Resuscitation masks will be readily available for all patients.
  1. Blood spills must be cleaned up promptly (wearing gloves) with a disinfectant solution.
  1. Medical students with exudative lesions or weeping dermatitis should not provide direct patient care or handle patient care equipment. Such personnel should report to the Student Health Service for evaluation.
  1. Health care workers sustaining needlesticks or other exposures to blood or body fluids must be evaluated by the Student Health Service. Laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies that are not covered by a students insurance will be paid for by the Medical School providing they are requested by the Student Health Service because of a student through the students activities in a course approved for credit by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
  1. Clinical laboratory staff (medical students) must adhere to departmental infection control policies dealing with specimen handling.
  1. All medical students who have potential exposure to patient blood or body fluids are encouraged to obtain Hepatitis B vaccination from the Student Health Service.
  1. Any questions regarding this policy may be referred to the Infection Control Section or the Student Health Service.

footer Terms of Use Legal Disclaimer Site Map Contact Us Financial Assistance About Penn Medicine Privacy Statement

penn medicine