Background: Concern about occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens exists, and medical students, who lack in experience in patient care and surgical technique, may be at an increased exposure risk. Methods: This prospective cohort study evaluated needlestick injuries and practices regarding the use of protective strategies against bloodborne pathogens in medical students. A questionnaire was developed and sent to 224 medical students. Results: Of 224 students, 146 students (64%) returned questionnaires. Forty-three students (30%) reported needlestick injuries that most commonly occurred in the operating room; 86% of students reported always using double gloves in the operating room; 90% reported always wearing eye protection, and all but one student had been vaccinated against hepatitis B. A concern about contracting a bloodborne pathogen through work was noted in 125 students, although they usually reported that this concern only slightly influenced their decision regarding a career subspecialty. Conclusion: Medical students have a high risk for needlestick injuries, and attention should be directed to protection strategies against bloodborne pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-230
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2003


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