2.3 Needlestick, Blood, Tissue and Body Fluid Exposure Protocol

In the event of a needlestick, or exposure to blood, tissue or body fluid, medical students are strongly encouraged to follow the School of Medicine’s established exposure protocols.  While students are not required to report sharps injuries, students should reach out to the School for support as needed.


Time matters! Proceed swiftly with the following:

  1. Remove all soiled clothing.
  2. Wash needlesticks and cuts with soap and water (15 mins).
    Flush splashes to the nose, mouth or skin with water (15 mins).
    Irrigate eyes with clean water, saline or sterile irrigants (15 mins).
  3. Write down the following information on “source” patient:
    Name, hospital or clinic number, date of birth and patient location
  4. Notify a supervising staff member that you need to report to employee health (or, after hours, report to a local emergency department)
  5. Report to Employee Health/emergency department as a blood/body fluid exposure for:
    1. Risk assessment of exposure
    2. Baseline laboratory work on you
    3. Employee Health evaluation of “source” patient
    4. Institution of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), if appropriate
  6. Link to blood-borne pathogen (BBP) exposure lab testing and Health Sciences Immunization Program (HSIP) payment information:
    All costs related to BBP exposures should be billed to your personal insurance first. Itemized bills (showing amounts not covered) should be sent to HSIP with your request for payment within 60 days. For questions about coverage, please contact HSIP by email at myshots@uw.edu or VM 206-616-9074.

For additional support after a BBP exposure/needlestick, contact:

  1. Office of Academic Affairs: 206.543.5560 (8am-5pm PT)
  2. Spokane students: call the UWSOM Spokane Office: 509.313.7900 (7:30am-4:30pm PT)
  3. If after hours: 206.906.8996. Identify yourself as a UWSOM student (or provider) with a blood-borne exposure, and request to speak with the campus health physician. This number is to the UW paging operator. If the operator does not answer your call at first, continue waiting until the call is answered.

For more information: CDC Emergency Needlestick Information and UW HSIP Blood-borne Pathogens

Effective: Current
Last updated: July 30, 2021
Policy Contact: UW School of Medicine, Compliance Office, lbellis@uw.edu, Education Quality Improvement Office, eqi@uw.edu