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Medical, Nursing, and Allied Health Training Programs

Page last updated: May 29, 2020

Medical, nursing, and allied health training programs for health care practitioners and allied health practitioners may resume training as outlined below.

Definitions

Health Care Practitioner: For the purposes of this guidance, the term "health care practitioner" includes students preparing for licensure by the following boards in this commonwealth or another jurisdiction:

  • State Board of Medicine

  • State Board of Osteopathic Medicine

  • State Board of Nursing

  • State Board of Pharmacy

  • State Board of Physical Therapy

  • State Board of Podiatry

  • State Board of Funeral Directors

  • State Board of Occupational Therapy Education and Licensure

  • State Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

  • State Board of Veterinary Medicine

  • State Board of Dentistry 

  • State Board of Optometry

  • State Board of Nursing Home Administrators

  • State Board of Chiropractic

  • State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors, or

  • State Board of Psychology

Allied Health Practitioner: For the purposes of this guidance, the term "allied health practitioner" refers to health professionals who are employed in professions to support the prevention of disease transmission and provide clinical support in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients. Allied health practitioners deliver direct patient care, rehabilitation, treatment, diagnostics, and health improvement interventions to restore and maintain optimal physical, sensory, psychological, cognitive and social functions. They provide clinical support services to physicians, nurses, and the licensed health care practitioners identified above. This guidance also applies to laboratory technicians.

Clinical Training

Medical, nursing, and allied health programs may resume clinical training and rotations for health care practitioners and allied health practitioners.

Clinical training and rotations must follow the guidelines provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Medical schools should consider the guidance provided by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) related to Medical Students' Participation in Direct Patient Contact Activities (April 14, 2020), and the guidance provided by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Nursing education programs should consider the guidance provided by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Considerations for COVID-19 Preparedness and Response in U.S. Schools of Nursing (March 20, 2020).

Classroom Instruction

Medical, nursing, and allied health training programs located in counties designated as yellow and green in the Governor's Process to Reopen Pennsylvania may resume in-person classroom instruction.

Such instruction shall employ physical distancing measures, universal masking, and applicable DOH and CDC guidelines. During the yellow phase, class size is limited to 25 or fewer students for in-person instruction.

Research

Medical and pharmaceutical research located in counties designated as red, yellow, or green phases may resume, in accordance with DOH and CDC guidelines. All medical training and allied health providers are expected to strictly adhere to the requirements of the Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public and the health and safety guidelines detailed in Governor Wolf's phased reopening plan.

In all instances, training programs must operate in the manner best designed to prevent or mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the safety of the communities in which they are located and the communities they serve. Programs are expected to employ remote or virtual methods of training and instruction whenever possible. Students must also wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in all patient encounters and can only participate in training and patient encounters if there is an adequate supply of PPE. Programs should strive to minimize opportunities for personal interaction as such interactions provide greater opportunities for the transmission of COVID-19.