Communicable Disease

A student who has a communicable disease, or who is a carrier of a communicable disease, may attend and participate in clinical experience courses whenever, through reasonable accommodation, there is no significant risk of transmission of the disease to others and to the patients.

A student who believes he/she has contracted a communicable disease must present the Berkeley College Clinical Coordinator with a written statement from the appropriate hospital/clinical site’s Employee Health Department that indicates the site’s approval of participation in all clinical practicums.

Patients With Communicable Diseases

Due to increasing concern about the care of patients with infectious diseases (hepatitis B, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, tuberculosis, etc.), students are required to comply with the exact procedures established by the clinical sites when caring for these patients.

Safety Procedures Relating to HIV, AIDS, and Hepatitis B

This procedure has been considered and adopted in accordance with the current consensus of the scientific community that blood-borne diseases cannot be transmitted by casual body contact typical of the workplace. Should it ever appear that the implementation of this procedure presents a danger to the student and patient, Berkeley College reserves the right to make appropriate revisions. The risk of contracting hepatitis B is greater than the risk of contracting AIDS. Recommendations for the control of hepatitis B infection are, therefore, incorporated herein.

Berkeley College strongly recommends that students enrolled in the Surgical Technology program obtain adequate medical insurance coverage.

Students are encouraged to be vaccinated for hepatitis B prior to contact with blood or other potentially infectious substances. If, after consultation, a student refuses to obtain a hepatitis B vaccination, a form entitled “Hepatitis B Vaccination Declination” must be signed prior to enrolling in any clinical practicum course.

Sharp items (needles, scalpel blades, and other sharp instruments) are considered potentially infective and should be handled with extraordinary care to prevent accidental injuries. Unsafe behavior with sharp items may result in expulsion from the program.

Disposable syringes and needles, scalpel blades, and other sharp items should be placed in puncture-resistant containers located as close as practical to the area in which they are used. To prevent needle stick injuries, needles should not be recapped by hand, purposely broken, removed from disposable syringes, or otherwise manipulated unless a one-handed technique is employed.

When the possibility of exposure to blood or body fluids exists, standard precautions must be followed as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The anticipated exposure may require gloves alone, as in handling items soiled with blood or other body fluids, or may also require gowns, gloves, masks, and eye covering when performing procedures or post-mortem examinations. Hands should be washed thoroughly and immediately if they accidentally become contaminated with blood. Any occupational exposure must be reported to the preceptor and Clinical Coordinator and an incident report must be filed as soon as reasonably possible.

Pregnant students engaged in healthcare are not known to be at greater risk than students who are not pregnant. However, if a student develops infection with the HIV virus during pregnancy, an infant has an increased risk of infection by prenatal or perinatal transmission. Because of this risk, pregnant students should be especially familiar with precautions for preventing the transmission or acquisition of the HIV virus.

Students who have been diagnosed as having HIV or AIDS may take the didactic portion of the program, but should be aware that not all hospitals allow students with these diagnoses to complete the clinical portion of the program. It is required that such a student fully explore the ramifications of this policy with the Department Chair before committing to the program and perhaps also consider other paths to follow. Berkeley College wants to ensure that each student enters the appropriate field of study.

In addition, for students engaged in healthcare who have AIDS, there is an increased danger from infection due to diseases they may come in contact with, either in class or at the clinical site. Students with immune deficiency are at high risk of serious complications from any exposure to infectious diseases. Students with immune deficiency should consult with their physician regarding potential risks.