3.19: Student Participation in Clinical Activities Involving Personal Risk

The Stanford University School of Medicine has long had the policy that medical students learn to be physicians by participating in the care of patients under faculty supervision. Some of these patients may have an infectious or other disease that provides some risk to caretakers, including students. While every effort will be made to provide appropriate training and safeguards for students so that these risks are minimized, they cannot be totally eliminated.

Students are required to participate in patient care as one of their fundamental responsibilities during their medical education.  Students are expected at all times to follow universal safety precautions in order to safeguard their own health. Under certain rare and extenuating circumstances where the risk to the student significantly outweighs either the educational benefit to the student or the health-care benefit to the patient, a supervising physician may suggest that a student be exempted from, or a student may ask permission from the supervising physician to be excused from, participation in certain aspects of patient care.

The course and/or clerkship director are responsible for providing guidance and clarification of this statement and resolving any disputes. In the event a dispute is unsatisfactorily resolved from the standpoint of either the student or the supervising physician, the matter may be referred to the Assistant Dean for Preclerkship Education or Assistant Dean for Clerkship Education for final review as necessary.

updated August 2023