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Health and Wellness Information

CPR Certification

Students (except CLS) must submit proof of completion and current certification in the American Heart Association CPR for Health Care Provider prior to the start of clinical education.

Health Insurance

All students enrolled at Mercy College are financially responsible for their medical care. Students are encouraged 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.  

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Health Records

Health records are obtained as part of the admissions process.  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.

Injury/Exposure at Clinical Sites

Standard Precautions will be observed by all employees and students in order to prevent contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials.   In the event of an injury or exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials, students will comply with health policies and infection control policies that are currently in effect at the Clinical Site. A student should inform their clinical instructor immediately if an injury or exposure occurs during a clinical rotation. An incident report must be completed in order to follow-up on the occurrence.

Medical Excuses

Student Health and Student Success Center services are offered to students on a confidential basis. The staff does not issue medical excuses from academic obligations. Course requirements and attendance are academic matters between the student and the faculty. The responsibility for class attendance and performance rests primarily with the student. The Student Health and Counseling staff do not excuse students from classes or academic work. Students who miss class because of illness or other emergencies should contact their faculty by telephone or e-mail as soon as possible to make the necessary arrangements to complete missed assignments. Faculty members who wish to verify that a student was treated by Student Health Services and/or the Student Success Center may contact the Student Health Service and Student Success Center staff.

Mercy College expects that students will be honest with their professors regarding their ability to complete work and professors are expected to work with students on these issues.  The Student Success Center is available to provide assistance to students or faculty members who have concerns about attendance issues.

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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.

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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. 

Vaccination Policy

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 week 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.


Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Reasonable Accommodation Request

Mercy College policy requires all students receive an annual influenza immunization during the months of October to December each year. Students beginning in the spring semester must receive the influenza immunization by the end of the first week of spring classes. Students may request a reasonable accommodation to this requirement on the basis of: (1) a medical contraindication to the flu immunization, or (2) a religious practice or creed that prohibits immunization. Reasonable accommodation does not exempt you from the annual influenza prevention program but rather is an alternate method of compliance in place of the influenza immunization.

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Accommodation on the Basis of a Medical Contraindication

You may request a reasonable accommodation if the flu immunization is medically contraindicated due to your medical condition. To request a reasonable accommodation, please submit a completed Reasonable Accommodation Request Form, along with a signed statement from your healthcare provider and medical documentation that describes the nature, duration, and severity of your medical condition, and an explanation as to why your condition prevents you from receiving the influenza vaccine. Your healthcare provider should also describe any suggested reasonable accommodation that will enable you to continue to safely perform your essential responsibilities, even though you do not receive a flu vaccine.

Accommodation on the Basis of a Religious Practice

You may request a reasonable accommodation on the basis of a religious practice or creed that prohibits you from obtaining the influenza immunization. To request a reasonable accommodation, please submit the completed Reasonable Accommodation Request Form along with supporting documentation that demonstrates how your religious practice or creed prevents you from receiving the flu vaccine. You may also attach a signed statement from your minister or a similar religious leader, explaining how tenets of your religion prohibit you from being vaccinated or immunized.

Copies of the form are available from the Campus Receptionist or Student Health Services. Forms must be submitted to Student Health Services by November 15, along with supporting documentation noted on the form. Requests for waiver will be reviewed and students will be notified of a decision.

Students not receiving the flu vaccine, and granted an accommodation, will be required to wear respiratory protection in the form of a surgical Mask. Students will be required to wear the mask for the duration of the flu season as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The mask has to be worn at all times while engaged in clinical rotations or preceptorships at any Mercy Medical Center affiliate with the exception of breaks and meal times. The mask should fit snuggly and be secured to the face. The mask should be discarded, at minimum, at the end of the clinical and immediately if it becomes soiled or moist. Students will be required to comply with influenza immunization policies at other health care facilities.

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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, posted on E-LEOS, and TV monitors on 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 date established by Mercy Medical Center in the fall. New students who begin clinical rotations or preceptorships in the spring semester must get vaccinated prior to participation in those experiences on the Mercy Medical Center campus.  Students, who have obtained a seasonal flu vaccination elsewhere, will be required to upload this documentation into their Certified Profile record (if applicable) or provide documentation of the vaccination to the student health nurse.

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).  It is the student’s responsibility to notify the instructor(s) of regarding the absence. 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.  

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, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the clinical instructor regarding the absence. 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.  

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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 the 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 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.

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Standard Precautions

Mercy College follows the rules and regulations established by Clinical 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 Clinical Site protocols.   Students are responsible for any expenses and should submit charges to their health insurance provider. 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.  A complete calendar of classes for both the gym and pool is available online at the College website.

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This College Student Handbook is presented as information only and is not a contract between Mercy College and its students. The information, policies, and procedures contained in this Handbook are subject to change at any time with or without notice. Students are responsible for reading and following the information contained in the Handbook, including school-specific policies and procedures. The Director of Admission will ensure that all admitted students receive instructions on how to access the Student Handbook online.  The student is responsible for knowing and complying with the information contained in the College Student Handbook and any changes to the policies and practices as posted on the College’s learning management system (E-LEOS) and College website.  

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