• The exposure of third-year medical students to blood and blood products in the operating room was assessed with a questionnaire distributed at the end of their clerkship in surgery. Sixty-six (68%) of ninety-seven students reported having been exposed to blood in the operating room during their 3-month rotation in surgery. During the year there was a decrease in the exposure rate that correlated with the students' knowledge of universal precautions (r=.96). Consistent with this observation was a significant decrease in the exposure rate from the first quarter of the year to the last quarter (88% vs 56% of the students). Of the 32 students stuck or cut in the operating room, 21 (66%) were injured by the surgeon. These data underscore the risk to medical students during their clerkships and the important role that universal precautions had in their protection.
(Arch Surg. 1993;128:36-39)