Health and Wellness Information
Students must submit proof of completion and current certification in either the American Heart Association CPR for Health Care Provider or the American Red Cross CPR for Health Care Providers (including adult, infant, child, 1 and 2 rescuer CPR, AED, and use of a bag-value mask) prior to the start of clinical education.
All students enrolled at Mercy College are financially responsible for their medical care and required to have health insurance. Students may be required to provide verification of insurance coverage for participation at some clinical sites. Failure to demonstrate health insurance coverage may prevent clinical access and jeopardize course completion.
Professional Malpractice / Liability Insurance
Students who are currently enrolled in a Mercy College certificate or degree program are functioning within the scope of their practice and are being supervised by an approved instructor / preceptor during a scheduled clinical rotations on Mercy’s campus or with a contracted affiliate are covered under the Professional Malpractice Insurance of Mercy Medical Center ? Des Moines.
Health records obtained as part of the admissions process are collected and reviewed by a Student Health Nurse. Once submitted, the records become the property of the College and cannot be returned. All student health records are maintained in a separate confidential file and do not become part of the student’s permanent file.
Needle Stick Procedures
In the event that a student experiences a needle stick during a clinical rotation at any Mercy Medical Center facility, the student should inform their clinical instructor immediately. The student should be taken to the Mercy Medical Center Employee Health and Wellness Department located on the main campus downtown and follow the protocol of the department concerning treatment of a needle stick. In the event the MMC Employee Health and Wellness Department is closed, the instructor should contact the House Supervisor through the Hospital Operator. Any blood testing that may result will be completed without charge to the student. An incident report must be completed in order to follow-up on the occurrence.
Returning to Clinical Following Absence
Students absent for longer than three days because of contagious illness, or injury must report to the Student Health Nurse, with a full medical clearance from their health care provider in order to return to classes. Students who have been absent for greater than five days and students who have undergone surgery, including outpatient surgery, emergency room treatment, hospitalization, sutures, crutches, treatment for infectious diseases, casting or splinting must provide a signed physician’s statement to the Student Health Nurse. The Student Health Nurse will provide the student with clearance documentation to be given to the student’s instructor. A physician’s release may be requested at the College’s discretion.
Seasonal Flu Vaccination Policy
Because of the close proximity within health care and educational facilities and the potential exposure of their employees and students to individuals who may be carrying either virus or who could suffer severe reactions from exposure to the seasonal flu virus, there is significant value to ensure that as many health care workers and college students, as possible, obtain seasonal flu vaccinations to reduce the incidents of influenza in a particular community, work, and/or school environment. The seasonal flu has significant impact annually on those 65 years and older and individuals with weakened immune systems.
Preventing the Contracting of the Flu and Limiting the Spread of the Disease
It is important for health care workers and those studying to become health care workers to demonstrate proper prevention techniques in order to reduce the spread of the seasonal influenza. There are a number of steps that should be practiced routinely:
- Cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of the tissue into a garbage can after each use. Use the shirt sleeve to contain the airborne particles.
- Wash hands with soap and water; remember to use friction to remove germs. Apply antibacterial soap for 15-20 seconds minimum.
- If soap and water are unavailable, use alcohol-based hand gel sanitizers -- especially after coughing or sneezing. Rub hands with the gel until completely dry to achieve the benefit of the disinfectant.
- Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet, open the door to exit the bathroom, and drop the towel into the nearest garbage can after leaving the bathroom.
- Avoid contact with ill persons, if possible.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.
- Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
- Eat healthy, drink nutritious fluids, get plenty of rest and sleep, be physically active, and manage stress.
- Use disposable antimicrobial wipes, which will be found throughout the College, on surfaces that are safe for such use, including: telephones, keyboards, door handles, faucets, toilet flush handles, handrails, and elevator buttons. Dispose of these promptly after one use. Be aware that these wipes are harsh to our skin, and repeated exposure is irritating.
Responsibility for Promoting a Culture of Safety
As a result of the combined potential that health science students will encounter patients who may have flu symptoms during hands-on clinical rotations it is important to promote a Culture of Safety.
To promote a Culture of Safety for the patients our student see in clinical settings, College students participating in clinical courses or preceptorships will be offered free seasonal flu vaccination each fall. Students enrolled in clinical education or preceptorships in clinical settings are required to obtain a seasonal flu vaccination before the end of the first two weeks of the spring semester unless they have obtained a waiver as described below. Students not enrolled in clinical education will not be required to obtain the vaccination as a condition of enrollment and will not be provided a free vaccination, but are strongly urged for their personal health to obtain a vaccination.
Alternatives for Declining the Seasonal Flu Vaccine: Students engaged in clinical education or preceptorships that, for religious or medical reasons, do not wish to or cannot receive a seasonal flu vaccination, will be required to complete an “Influenza Vaccination Reasonable Accommodation Request Form” in order to be considered for waiver from participating in the distribution of seasonal flu vaccinations. Copies of the form are available from the Campus Receptionist or the Student Health Nurses. Forms must be submitted to the student health nurses by the end of the first week of the spring semester, along with supporting documentation noted on the form. Requests for waiver will be reviewed and students will be notified of a decision before the end of the second week of the spring semester.
If a waiver is granted, students engaged in clinical rotations will be required to wear a surgical mask while on the medical center campus for clinical rotations or preceptorships during the time frame identified by Mercy Medical Center based on influenza activity in our state and may be asked to do the same at other health care facilities throughout the remainder of the flu season. Surgical masks should be changed as often as they become moist (due to talking, breathing or coughing).
Flu Vaccination Clinics on Our Campus: The College will offer seasonal flu vaccinations on the College campus at various times throughout the fall and at the beginning of the spring semester during published Flu Vaccination Clinic Days. News of these on-campus clinics will be announced by student email, and on bulletin boards throughout the campus. Students will be required to show their student badge in order to obtain a free flu vaccination. All vaccinations must be obtained before the end of the second week of the spring semester in order for students enrolled in clinical rotations or preceptorships to continue to participate in those experiences on the Mercy Medical Center campus. Students, who have obtained a seasonal flu vaccination elsewhere, will be required to provide documentation of the vaccination to the student health nurses before the end of the second week of the semester. Students who have not been immunized during the first two weeks of the spring semester and are attending clinical rotations or preceptorships will be required to wear a surgical mask until they comply or are no longer enrolled in clinical rotations or the clinical preceptorship.
Consequences for Failing to Promote a Culture of Safety: Students enrolled in clinical education or preceptorships who fail to obtain a seasonal flu vaccination by the end of the second week of the spring semester and have not been granted a waiver, will be excluded from further participation in clinical rotations or the clinical preceptorship for the spring semester during the remainder of the seasonal flu season. New and returning students who do not have documentation of either a flu vaccination or waiver will not be allowed to enroll in clinical coursework or preceptorship for the spring semester.
Policy for Absence from Classroom Lectures or Skills Laboratories: A student who shows symptoms commonly associated with seasonal flu should self-isolate and refrain from attending classes in order to limit the spread of the disease to other members of the class or instructor(s). In the event this would result in an absence from classroom lectures or participation in skills lab sessions, the student will be required to go online to the College website and electronically complete a “Flu Self-report Form” and submit it noting all classroom teachers’ whose lectures/skills labs the student will miss. The absence from class for a reported case of the flu will only count as one (1) occurrence (regardless of the number of days a student is away). The classroom teachers will then communicate with the student electronically to determine what areas of class content the student can and should make-up while the student is away from the classroom. It is the student’s obligation to follow-up with classroom teachers to ensure that required missed content is completed as outlined in course syllabi. Failure to complete required make-up content may lead to a lower grade or failure of the course. The student with computer access should send the form by email for each day they are absent with flu symptoms.
Policy for Absence from Clinical Rotations: A student who shows symptoms commonly associated with seasonal flu should self-isolate and refrain from attending clinical rotations in order to limit the spread of the disease to patients or other health care workers. In the event that this would result in an absence from clinical rotations, students will be required to go online to the College website and electronically complete a “Flu Self-report Form” and submit it noting the student’s clinical instructor. The absence from a clinical rotation for a reported case of the flu will only count as one (1) occurrence (regardless of the number of clinical rotations the student misses). Makeup fees associated with clinical rotation absences will only be charged once during a bout of flu this academic year. Repeated bouts of the flu will result in additional clinical fees being charged in the same manner. The student’s clinical instructor will then communicate with them electronically to determine how they should plan to make-up missed clinical experiences. It is the student’s obligation to follow-up with clinical instructors to ensure that required missed content is completed as outlined in course syllabi. Failure to complete required make-up content from clinical rotations may lead to a lower grade or failure of the course. The student with computer access should send the form by email for each day they are absent with flu symptoms.
Reporting Procedures for Students without Home Computer Access: Students who do not have access at home to a computer to report a flu illness should stop by the Campus Receptionist workstation to pick up paper copies of the “Flu Self-report Form” so that they may have them at home in case they are absent. These students will need to contact all instructors as outlined in course syllabi to inform them that they will be absent at the beginning of the illness and in advance of return to class/skills labs/clinical rotations. The “Flu Self-report Form” should be submitted to the College student health office upon return to class as outlined in this document, in order to comply with reporting requirements for the incidence of flu absences.
Procedures for Students Enrolled in Online-only and Web-assist Distance Learning Courses:
Students enrolled in online-only courses, which do not need to visit a Mercy clinical site as part of the coursework, are excluded from any requirement to obtain a free seasonal flu vaccination in those semesters. Should on-campus courses be required for the spring semester for example, these students would need to participate in a free vaccination clinic.
Determining When to Return to School: The CDC recommends that individuals with influenza-like illness remain at home and away from other people until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications. This could take from 2-5 days based on recent experience this flu season.
Mercy College will not require a medical doctor’s note to return to class or clinical rotations following a bout of the flu. Students should send an electronic “Flu Self-report Form” to their instructors and the College student health nurses the night before their anticipated return to class. Students do not need to visit the College student health nurses for permission to return to class or clinical rotations for absences caused by the flu this academic year.
Mercy College follows the rules and regulations established by host work sites, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Center for Disease Control, and the State of Iowa.
Students are expected to use standard precautions and to comply with all safety standards and procedures. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct. Students must immediately report to their instructor any exposure to potentially infectious materials. The instructor will follow host agency protocol and students will be monitored by EHS at no charge. Students are also responsible for reporting any injury or illness which occurs during a clinical experience.
Mercy Medical Center’s Campus Clinic is available when students become ill on campus or at clinical sites. If costs are incurred or a referral is made, students will be responsible for expenses. Twenty-four hour emergency medical care is available through the Mercy Medical Center Emergency Department at regular emergency room fees. Students may also choose to see their own health care practitioner for their health care needs.
YMCA Memberships and Wellness Center
Because of a joint venture relationship with the YMCA of Greater Des Moines, Mercy College students may join any Des Moines-area YMCA for greatly discounted rates (which are posted on the College website), by simply showing a Mercy College student badge.
Mercy’s campus Wellness Center is operated by the YMCA and it is a requirement to have a Y membership to utilize the on-campus facility. The Mercy Wellness Center located on the main campus at Mercy Medical Center is a full-service health and fitness facility offering a variety of gym and pool exercise classes, recreational activities, exercise equipment, personal consultants and more. The facility includes a racquetball court, cardio equipment room, strength training room, pool and whirlpool and a gymnasium. Click here for a complete calendar of classes for both the gym and pool by location.