University of Alberta Requirements for Health Science Clinical Placements
Fit-Testing of N95 Respirators
Due to issues related to SARS and other communicable disease outbreaks, in 2004
Capital Health implemented a policy requiring that all individuals “working in an area or
assignment where there is a potential exposure to SARS or other airborne communicable
diseases be Fit-Tested with an N95 respirator.” All Alberta Regional Health Authorities
(RHA’s) have since followed suit with similar policies.
In 2004, the University of Alberta responded to the Capital Health and other RHA
policies by developing a Fit-Testing program. Health Sciences Council (HSC) was
tasked with the development and administration of this program and has worked closely
over the last three years with all health science Faculties and the Office of Environmental
Health and Safety (EHS) to implement the program. EHS provided quality assurance for
Currently, students from the Faculties of Medicine & Dentistry, Nursing, Physical
Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Nutrition and Medical Laboratory Science
are required to be Fit-Tested.
At this point, a student must be Fit-Tested if:
1. They are commencing a placement in a facility under Capital Health or Chinook
Health administration in one of the designated patient care areas; or
2. They are in one of the identified disciplines.
Disciplines Patient Care Areas
Medicine & Dentistry Emergency
Nursing Ambulatory Care
Physical Therapy Women’s Health (Labour & Delivery)
Occupational Therapy Pre-Admission Clinics
Pharmacy Central Sterile Processing Depts
Nutrition Intensive Care Units
Medical Laboratory Science Surgery Units
Medicine Units (Adult & Pediatrics)
Students from disciplines other than those identified above may also need to be Fit-
Tested IF they are doing a placement in one of the noted patient care areas.
Components of Fit-Testing
There are several components to the Fit-Testing process as follows:
1. Health Screening Questionnaire – The Respirator Wearers Health Screening
Questionnaire for Health Care Workers must be completed by all students being Fit-
Tested. This questionnaire will be provided to students at the time of Fit-Testing.
2. Education and Training – will be provided to each student on the care, use, and
disposal of the respirators.
3. Fit-testing – Students will be Fit-Tested to the most common models of respirators
used across the Alberta Regional Health Authorities. Fit-Testing can take up to 45
4. Proof of Fit-Testing – students will be issued a card showing that they have been
appropriately Fit-Tested and trained in respirator use and disposal. The card will
indicate the model of respirator that the student has been fitted for, and it is the
students’ responsibility to show this card when required. A student may be refused
placement if they are not Fit-Tested.
5. Quality Assurance – of the entire Fit-Testing process will be provided by the Office
of Environmental Health & Safety.
Fee for Fit-Testing
Currently, the fee for Fit-Testing is $20, but is expected to rise to $25 in September 2008.
Cash or cheques are the ONLY accepted forms of payment.
In addition, students who do not show up for their appointments may be charged a
cancellation or no-show fee of $10 AND will have to arrange their own Fit-Test at their
additional expense. (Private Fit-Testing services can start at $50.00 per test to well over
$100 per test.)
The Alberta OH&S Act, Regulation and Code, currently states that a person needs to be
Fit-Tested at least once every two years and therefore, many students will pay this fee
more than once during their program. Additionally, a student may need to be tested more
often if they have changes to their facial structure which impact the ability of the
respirator to form a seal (eg. for reasons such as weight gain/loss, growth of facial hair,
dental surgery or facial scarring).
Scheduling of the Fit-Test
Fit-Testing is scheduled in September and April of each year. The Administrative
Coordinator of the Health Sciences Council coordinates the dates with the Clinical
Placement Coordinator of each health science Faculty. Students are assigned a date and
time for their N95 Fit-Test and are informed according to their Faculty’s notification
system (e.g. webmail, WebCT, etc.) It is the student’s responsibility to monitor this
system to ensure they do not miss their appointment.