3.26: N95 Respirator Mask Fit Requirements for Medical Students

All medical students participating in clinical activities are required to be fit tested for a N95 respirator mask on an annual basis. N95 filtering face-piece respirators are air-purifying respirators certified by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) that protect against airborne contaminants (i.e., dusts, fumes, microbial agents such as tuberculosis bacteria & flu virus). Fit testing is the process used to determine the appropriate N95 respirator mask (type and size) to ensure consistent and proper mask use. As a medical student participating in clinical activities, you may be required to wear a N95 respirator mask for tasks such as entering isolation rooms and other activities involving close contact with potentially infected persons.

Students are responsible for maintaining compliance with the annual fit testing requirement and must self-report the results of their fit test by completing the N95 Respirator Fit Testing Self Attestation Form. At the start of the academic year, the Office of Medical Education (OME) will send an announcement providing instructions for completing this requirement. Stanford Occupational Health Services (OHS), located in Stanford Hospital, oversees the mask fit testing process. Per OHS policy and Cal/OSHA guidelines, users must first be medically cleared to determine if they are physically fit to wear a respirator. Prior to fit testing, medical students must print/complete both the N95 Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire and the OHS Annual Fit Testing Form.

NOTE: Due to the ongoing COVID crisis, there is currently a shortage of medical grade N95 respirator masks. In response, Stanford Hospital has approved the use of industrial grade N95s in conjunction with an approved face shield. Medical students who are fit tested for an industrial grade mask must adhere to this policy.

During fit testing and when wearing a N95 respirator mask, students must be clean shaven (no mustaches, beards or stubble), since this will interfere with the respirator seal. Students who are not clean shaven will not be fit tested. Students requesting an exemption to the clean-shaven guidelines, due to religious or health reasons, will need to sign the N95 Respirator Fit Facial Hair Notification and Waiver and complete a separate Healthsream Training Module for a Controlled Air Purifying Respirator (CAPR), which consists of a battery powered HEPA filter which blows purified air into a loose-fitting hood worn over the head. CAPR users require annual training. CAPR hooded supplied air-systems may not be readily available when N95 mask protection is required.  

updated December 2020