Blood Borne Pathogens Faculty and Students: Robert Morris University Blood Borne Pathogens Faculty and Students | Robert Morris University

For Students

Blood Borne Pathogens Faculty and Students

Following the recommendation of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and Robert Morris University, this policy has been developed regarding responsibilities for adherence to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines for prevention of transmission, as well as recognition of individual rights, voluntary testing, and confidentiality of test results and health records for both faculty and students.


Faculty need to be educated according to current OSHA guidelines. The Administration/Faculty in the Department of Nursing are responsible for disseminating information about human immune deficiency virus/hepatitis B virus (HIV/HBV) infection and its transmission and educating students about the hazards involved in contact with a diverse population in which HIV/HBV may be present. The curriculum must reflect content related to HIV/HBV and the practice of universal precautions."Universal precautions" is an infection control approach  that involves treating all human blood and certain human body fluids as if they were known to be infectious for HIV, HBV and other bloodborne pathogens, (Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030(b) definitions).

The Department Head for Nursing  will have responsibility for educating and updating Department of Nursing  faculty and staff regarding changes in either OSHA or CDC guidelines. This individual also has responsibility for coordinating and documentating  annual education for faculty and staff. 

Prevention of Transmission

Students will receive printed and verbal information and instructions on universal precautions for body fluids and bloodborne infections in accordance with applicable OSHA and CDC guidelines prior to any clinical activities. 

Laboratory safety guidelines must be employed for the handling of blood and body fluids by all persons in teaching laboratories. Laboratory courses where exposure to blood is possible must use disposable equipment; this equipment must not be re-used or shared. Disposal of used equipment shall be in accord with both OSHA and CDC guidelines.

Strict Adherence to Universal Precautions

The universal precautions guidelines, established by the CDC and  OSHA, and must be strictly adhered to for the protection of students, faculty, staff  and patients.

HBV Vaccination

 Prior to the start of  clinical activities, all  undergraduate and graduate students  and faculty  must present evidence of  one of the following: a completed series of HBV immunization, documented evidence of immunity to the disease or  a signed  informed consent waiver.  The Department of Nursing is not responsible for student costs of the HBV vaccine or titer.

Participation in Care of Infected Patients

Because nurses provide "services with respect for human dignity and the uniqueness of the client, unrestricted by considerations of social and economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of health problems" (ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, 2001), faculty or students may not refuse to participate in the care of infected patients or any other type of patient. Under unusual circumstances (e.g. open lesions or weeping dermatitis or immunosuppression) this ethical mandate may be reconsidered; health care workers with open lesions or weeping dermatitis should refrain from all direct patient care and from handling equipment until the condition resolves.

Exposure to HIV/HBV

Faculty or students who are exposed to HIV/HBV by needle puncture or contact with secretions/body fluids while in the clinical setting should conform to specific agency procedures for such contact. The incident also needs to be reported to the faculty member responsible for supervising student clinical activities or the department head, as applicable,  no later than 24 hours after the exposure.

Faculty/Student Responsibility

In addition to adherence to specific agency procedures for such contact, the exposure must be reported using the Department of Nursing Health Incidents policy.

HIV Testing

Nursing students and faculty who are at risk for HIV and who have a desire to be tested can avail themselves of testing and pre and post testing counseling through their local health departments. HIV testing requires written informed consent which must be preceded by an explanation of the test, its purposes, potential uses, limitations and the meaning of results. It is the responsibility of the health care provider for the informed consent discussion. Pretest counseling must also be provided. Pretest counseling involves making information available to the individual about measures for prevention of exposure to transmission.

Such counseling may be provided either by clinical institutions in the case of an exposure during clinical experiences or by the health care provider. Follow-up testing and counseling will be provided by the testing agency in accordance with their policies and procedures. Without the expressed written authorization of the individual, results of testing may not be disclosed except as provided for in Pennsylvania's Confidentiality of HIV Related Information Act (the Act) effective February 27, 1991.(Note: Act 148 was amended in July 2011. The amendments only affect the HIV-testing provisions of this law. The confidentiality sections remain unchanged.) Should the incident occur outside of Pennsylvania then relevant state and federal laws will apply. Subsequent disclosure of HIV related information by such persons is prohibited unless authorized by the individual or permitted by the Act.

Management of HIV/HBV Infected Faculty or Students

Decisions regarding faculty or students who are infectious with HIV/HBV will be made on a case by case basis considering compliance with universal precautions, health status, and CDC recommendations for preventing transmission of HIV/HBV.

Faculty Review: 9/2007
Facutly approval : 12/2014