Needle Sticks and other Health Hazards

Health Hazards

All students should be aware of the potential health hazards for contracting hepatitis or HIV from inappropriate handling of body fluids (e.g. needle stick). Clerks should also be aware of appropriate methods for minimizing the hazards associated with radioactive and other potentially dangerous materials, including sharp instruments. (see HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis (Pep) Treatment Algorithm below). 

Exposure to Blood-Borne Pathogens/Needle Stick

If a student has a blood/body fluid exposure, the following process will be followed:

  • Student will proceed to ER department for medical assessment by the ER physician. The ER physician will assess the exposure risk, order Occupational Exposure Worker (OEW) blood work and complete the WHSCC form;
  • Student will complete an employee incident/accident report and investigation form and contact the site Occupational Health Nurse (OHN). The site OHN will provide exposure source follow-up, immunization review, and direction for follow-up care with the Student Health Nurse at MUN's Student Health Services. The site OHN will obtain informed verbal consent to follow up with the Student Health Nurse for review of blood work results, and direction of care. This consent should be documented in the nursing notes. 
  • The site OHN will:

Follow up Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) blood work (sharing results  only, no  name or MCP);
Follow up OEW blood work;
Ensure completion of Source Risk Assessment Form to identify if the source is high or low risk for the student and
Forward results to the Student Health Nurse for review.

  • If Low Risk: The site OHN will contact the Student Health Nurse with regard to the student’s exposure ensuring immunizations are up to date.
  • If High Risk: The site OHN will contact the Student Health Nurse regarding the student’s OEW blood work results, the OES blood work (results only), and the high risk indicators of the source for follow up blood work. The Student Health Nurse will follow the student for the 6 weeks, 3 month and 6 month follow-up for HBC, HCV, and HIV blood-borne pathogens, as directed by their student physician.

In the event a student is working outside the province or country, the student is responsible for supplying the site OHN with the contact information of the Student Health Nurse.  As a good practice, the student is advised to contact the Student Health Nurse to report the exposure as well.  The contact information for the Student Health Nurse is: 

Missy Power
709-864- 3015 or 709-864-7597

Financial Responsibility

The Financial costs associated with treatment of exposure incidents and related expenses shall be the responsibility of:
Medical students: students are required to participate in the medical plan provided by the MUN Student Union (MUNSU) or in a comparable medical plan that provides comparable coverage from treatment arising from such events.
Workplace NL: The Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act States:
Where a student is enrolled in an educational institution and is participating in a work training program he or she shall, while participating in the work training program, be considered to be a worker employed by the province. Where a student is injured while participating in a work training program and is entitled to compensation the amount payable to him or her shall be based on the current rate paid to a worker engaged in the same or similar work provided that the maximum amount payable does not exceed that set by this Act.

Note: The Phase Leads, Clerkship Coordinator and Associate Dean are available to speak with any student regarding student participation in activities when potential exposure to infection or environmental hazards exceed expected standards.