Potential new law to be passed...to help nursing shortage

  1. hi everyone,
    i am an RN student and for an assignment we must post 2 questions and have someone respond. my husband is an ADON in a long term care facility and he read an article that stated our state is going to pass a law to have med pass aides pass meds in LTC facilities. i just wanted to know if anybody has heard anything about this in their state and what your opinion is? they are doing this to cut back on the work load of nurses. do you think this is a good way to solve the nursing shortage? thanks, maggymae
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   treysdaddy08
    Quote from maggymae
    hi everyone,
    i am an RN student and for an assignment we must post 2 questions and have someone respond. my husband is an ADON in a long term care facility and he read an article that stated our state is going to pass a law to have med pass aides pass meds in LTC facilities. i just wanted to know if anybody has heard anything about this in their state and what your opinion is? they are doing this to cut back on the work load of nurses. do you think this is a good way to solve the nursing shortage? thanks, maggymae
    I do know that in Wa state a CNA can be "certified" as a med aid and pass meds in LTC facilities. I think it's rather stupid personally. I was a med aid w/o certification (very briefly) and I have no idea what I'm handing out. All I know is to follow what the book says. Twice I made med errors by not handing out a narc. I don't know why, I just know I did it because I signed the narc out and it was still there. Once I was going on 4 days with only about 5 hours sleep total. That level of exhaustion plus not having any education is a bad formula
  4. by   time4meRN
    When I first started nursing back in the 80's the hospital I worked at had med techs. It was terrible, the nurses ended up being just a busy, because they added on even more duties, then we were still responsible for the meds. In other words, the med tech would give meds , they had no critical thinking abilites as the RN, so there were many times, no discretion was used when giving the meds. ie: lasix with low K. or maalox with stomach pain that was actually an MI. With no thought to invesigate the pain furter, just gave it. The problem was the RN was still as responsible for the meds given as if the RN gave it. Just as MA's work under the Dr's licinse, the med tech works under the RN's. Really scarey, maybe I'm just a micro manager, but if it involves invasive procedures, meds or anything to do with the pt care that can make a differencer in outcomes, I want to do it.
  5. by   sister--*
    My state allows it and my experience is that it's frightening.

    While setting-up (and administering) G-tube meds for a resident on a wing other than my own, I asked the med aide that was in charge of running this cart where the residents metaclopramide was kept on this particular unit. She ran to get a new bottle. Holy Cow! She handed me the magnesium! I thought I'd die when I pointed out to her that this was not what I asked for. "Huh? This isn't the right stuff?" This gal had NO IDEA that Magnesium and Metaclopramide were not the same thing.

    Another time I was working a med cart when I asked the med aide where this resident's atarax was. She walked over and grabbed the atenolol card and handed it to me. WHAT? How many times had that happened before!?

    IMHO there wouldn't be a nursing shortage if facilities would hire enough nurses. People arn't factory widgets...get 'em done and they stay done. People are in fact dynamic with ever changing needs....just like we were created.
  6. by   MzKGoRN
    I am a med aide in nursing school. I passed meds in the OKC, OK area from 2000-2004 then I moved to Texas. It does help the nurses with their load.
  7. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from sister--*
    My state allows it and my experience is that it's frightening.

    While setting-up (and administering) G-tube meds for a resident on a wing other than my own, I asked the med aide that was in charge of running this cart where the residents metaclopramide was kept on this particular unit. She ran to get a new bottle. Holy Cow! She handed me the magnesium! I thought I'd die when I pointed out to her that this was not what I asked for. "Huh? This isn't the right stuff?" This gal had NO IDEA that Magnesium and Metaclopramide were not the same thing.

    Another time I was working a med cart when I asked the med aide where this resident's atarax was. She walked over and grabbed the atenolol card and handed it to me. WHAT? How many times had that happened before!?

    IMHO there wouldn't be a nursing shortage if facilities would hire enough nurses. People arn't factory widgets...get 'em done and they stay done. People are in fact dynamic with ever changing needs....just like we were created.
    I worked with a tech who was a med aide one time. She was an aide for one of my HH patients. I was trying to explain the medications the patient was on and what they did and signs to monitor in the patient and report to the office because it might be med related. Each time I would try to explain something the aide would interrupt me with a quick "I know! I know!" Each and every time. She would say , " I know! I was a med tech! I took a course in meds!"

    Okay...
  8. by   cardiacRN2006
    No. Turfing nursing duties is not a good way to help with the nursing shortage.

    A way to help would be to increase staffing, and make the workload easier---and not by taking nursing duties away and giving them to non-nurses, but by decreasing ratios and paperwork.
  9. by   Dolce
    A good way to solve the nursing shortage would be to pay nursing instructors a whole lot more money. One of the reasons the schools can't admit more students is because their are not enough instructors. Problem now is that a lot of nursing instructors make less than a new grad would in a hospital setting. That is not right.
  10. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from maggymae
    hi everyone,
    i am an RN student and for an assignment we must post 2 questions and have someone respond. my husband is an ADON in a long term care facility and he read an article that stated our state is going to pass a law to have med pass aides pass meds in LTC facilities. i just wanted to know if anybody has heard anything about this in their state and what your opinion is? they are doing this to cut back on the work load of nurses. do you think this is a good way to solve the nursing shortage? thanks, maggymae
    This does absolutely nothing to solve the nursing shortage.

    What it DOES do is increase the number of med errors that will occur. It also increases, at I would predict a horrific rate, the number of times a nurse will be trying to combat the detrimental effects of the "right" med given at the wrong time. Just because it's on the MAR doesn't mean it's appropriate to give in every instance. I can guarantee you I spent more than two hours in school learning this; how much training do you suppose the "med techs" will have?

    Nurses don't just "pass meds", we assess the patients at the time they are being given, to determine whether the patient SHOULD have those meds then. As a small example, blood pressure meds, while "on the MAR", are frequently held (due to low numers) or given and a call placed to MD to change order (due to high or chronically high numbers). Will the med tech do this? No.

    And since ultimately it's the RN who is supposed to be overseeing this circus, it's the RN who is ultimately to blame when the med tech injures or kills someone.

    No, thanks....I'd rather keep my license.
  11. by   Karley9336
    it would be interesting to know where (what state) you are in. i work in michigan and have worked in two critical access facilities where med nurses are used routinely. both are small hospitals with maximum of 24 bed capacity, and that capacity includes the emergency department beds. that being said, the first facility that i worked at utilized a lpn to administer the meds and she is not allowed to do iv pushes. the facility that i am currently at utilizes the l & d nurse (myself or two others and only one per shift) all of which are rn's. i still am not entirely comfortable in this role even knowing what i know in regards to contraindications, adverse effects and when not to give meds. i feel that the person giving the med should know the patient. when i go into a room to pass a med, i am not able to assess whether this patient "does not look right" or has a change in mentation, or whether his/her respiration rate has changed significantly. all of those things that an rn whom has this patient for the whole nite or day will know. with an rn passing the med, it may reduce some med errors, it also increases her liability if she administers a med that the patient at that time may be contraindicated due to other factors that she cannot assess, because to her, that patient is a room number and a diagnosis. as a med nurse i sit in report and listen and try to glean as much information as possible and i will report to charge nurse any contraindications that i can recognize as the arise, but i do not believe that it is in the best interest of the patient to be utilizing this practice. if a laboring patient comes in to deliver, i am whisked off the floor with just a short report off to the charge nurse to indicate which meds have been passed and which need to be passed. if you have a med nurse that is uap with certification i can see more chances of a med being given that should not be due to an underlying factor that i am sure that she would not be able to assess. i believe that nurses (rn's) should administer their own meds because the have a more encompassing view of the patient and his or her current needs. whether one utilizes and rn, an lpn, or a certified med tech, i believe that this practice is dangerous.
  12. by   txspadequeenRN
    this is nothing new. they have had med aides in facilities in texas for 20 years that i know of.


    Quote from maggymae
    hi everyone,
    i am an rn student and for an assignment we must post 2 questions and have someone respond. my husband is an adon in a long term care facility and he read an article that stated our state is going to pass a law to have med pass aides pass meds in ltc facilities. i just wanted to know if anybody has heard anything about this in their state and what your opinion is? they are doing this to cut back on the work load of nurses. do you think this is a good way to solve the nursing shortage? thanks, maggymae
  13. by   traumaRUs
    IL defeated this legislation in the last couple of years and I'm very glad.
  14. by   nurz2be
    Quote from maggymae
    hi everyone,
    i am an RN student and for an assignment we must post 2 questions and have someone respond. my husband is an ADON in a long term care facility and he read an article that stated our state is going to pass a law to have med pass aides pass meds in LTC facilities. i just wanted to know if anybody has heard anything about this in their state and what your opinion is? they are doing this to cut back on the work load of nurses. do you think this is a good way to solve the nursing shortage? thanks, maggymae
    I was a CNA in Oklahoma back in 1994. At that time, anyone who worked in a LTC and had their CNA could go to Oklahoma City and take the 2 day med course to become "certified" to pass meds. Once you went back to your LTC facility you were placed with other CMA's (certified Medication aides) and you went with them for 2 months on rounds. All meds that were pill form were in bubble packs,sent from pharmacy this way, with times, med information, and times to be given on each packet. Narcotics were kept in lock up and given to med aides by LPNs when it was to be given to patients. Meds in liquid form were kept in a bottle with the patients picture on the front and again amounts and info was on bottle....there was also a med chart that contained a page for each patient, their meds, and treatments and so on. Once these were done you signed off on them, by placing your initials in a little box on person med sheet.
    Each shift, 7-3, 3-11,11-7 had CMAs, normally we had 2 per shift. Each was in charge of 3 wings, we had a 6 wing building, and each wing had its own cart of meds. Each shift change began and ended with a med count. LPN in charge of that shift would come in and count Narcotics and would have to sign off on outgoing CMA's med count. It had to have 3 signatures, LPN in charge of Incoming shift, CMA leaving shift and CMA entering shift.
    CMA's (certified Medication aides) also went on a 2 month prep with LPN's who were the only nurses on staff except for, n our case, 1 RN who was the director. The LPNs taught the CMA's how to give B12 injections, check blood glucose levels and give insulin when needed, how to take blood pressures, how to do sterile dressing changes, how to start Foley's.
    CMA's (certified Medication aides) also charted in medical charts once they had performed any type of injection of B12 or insulin, dressing changes, or Foley insertion.

    How do I know this? Because I did this myself. Now, that I am in RN school I think that it is NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT in the best interest of the patient, client or whatever you prefer to call the people in your care. I PERSONALLY feel THIS IS FOOLISH to believe that after 2 days of classwork anyone could be anywhere NEAR capable of giving out meds. or performing the duties CMA's are allowed to perform.
    I have a few friends who still are in this capacity as CMAs in LTC facilities.
    Last edit by nurz2be on Sep 14, '07

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