ARC-PA 5th ed Standard A3.08
Enrollment in physician assistant and medical educational programs often yields unintentional exposure to diseases such as viruses that are unavoidable. The student’s responsibility is to pursue healthcare and treatment advice, including timeframe for safe return to class or SCPE site, from their medical provider, should the need arise.
It is the policy of the GWU Department of Physician Assistant Studies to follow the guidelines made by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding the use of Standard Precautions to prevent the spread of infection and reduce occupational exposure to blood and body fluid pathogens. (Standard A3.08)
Usually before matriculation, but always before patient care or laboratory experiences, including on-campus learning activities, students MUST undergo training focused on potential hazards, standard precautions, and safety procedures related to chemical and bloodborne pathogens exposure. NOTE: As part of the supervised clinical practice experience, students may be required to complete additional site-specific safety or security training.
When hazardous exposure to chemical agents or blood or body fluids occurs, the incident must be immediately reported. After initial first aid and safety procedures (limiting exposure and risk) have been completed – e.g., thorough hand washing, flushing of mucous membranes, etc.:
In all exposure instances, medical evaluation, treatment of injuries, and evaluation focused on risk limits should be conducted immediately at:
The procedures for care and treatment after exposure to infectious or potentially infectious blood and/or body fluid remain the financial responsibility of the student (Standard A3.08).
GWU PA students exposed to blood or body fluids (e.g., from a needle stick or scalpel injury or splashing of body fluids in the eye, the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose, or on non-intact skin) must adhere to the following exposure protocol for proper workup, counseling, and follow-up.
In the event of accidental exposure (needle stick, splash, TB exposure, etc.), students should follow these basic principles:
NOTE: All expenses incurred related to an exposure are the sole responsibility of the PA student. Clinical sites and Gardner-Webb University and GWU Department of PA Studies are not liable for the cost of exposure testing.
Students should follow the guidance of their evaluating clinician based upon established guidelines and have appropriateinterval follow-ups.
OSHA standards 1910-1030 require the record of the exposed student is kept for the duration of the status as a student plus 30 years. These copies reside with the student and the healthcare provider.
Effects of Infectious/Environmental Disease or Disability: Students who contract infectious/environmental disease or disability will be reviewed individually based on the status of their individual cases. Students whose disease/disability necessitates an extended leave will require a medical deceleration granted by the APC and Executive Committees.
Standard precautions are the minimum infection prevention practices that apply to all patient care and laboratory or technical skills training experiences, regardless of suspected or confirmed infection status of the patient or colleague, in any setting where health care is delivered. These practices are designed to protect healthcare professionals (HCP) and prevent HCP from spreading infections to others. Standard precautions include:
Hand Hygiene means cleaning your hands by using either handwashing (washing hands with soap and water), antiseptic hand wash, antiseptic hand rub (e.g., alcohol-based hand sanitizer including foam or gel), or surgical hand antisepsis.
Cleaning your hands reduces:
Two methods for hand hygiene:
Refer to the CDC Website for information regarding when/how to perform hand hygiene, glove use, hand hygienefor surgery, skin, and nail care.
PPE includes non-sterile gloves, facial masks (N95 or higher respirator), protective eyewear (face shield or goggles), and isolation gowns. It should be worn whenever the risk of exposure to infectious diseases, blood, or body fluids are present.
According to the CDC, PPE should be used by the following:
At a minimum, PPE includes:
The following measures to contain respiratory secretions are recommended for all individuals with signs and symptoms of a respiratory infection.
Compliance with all safety practices is not just proper procedure but is also a mark of professionalism. Failure to observe
and practice Standard Precautions will result in adverse/disciplinary action for unprofessional behavior.