Our facility uses QMA's (Qualified Medicine Aids), CNA's with training, to pass meds and assist with some treatments. I find them very valuable and most helpful. Many nights I would be forced to do an entire unit of 43 residents by myself, with med passes totaling 3+ hours each time if I didn't have a QMA to assist me. Our current problem is we have a lot of nurses that call off just because it's a pretty day, in other words, they don't care. The supervisior is trying to weed them out but it takes time. In the mean time it is the QMA's that help pick up the slack and they do a very good job. Our facility requires frequent inservicing for the QMA's and when state comes in yearly, they are the ones that get targeted to be followed on med passes. My husband is a QMA and he frequently not only works my hall but goes to another hall to help as well, working two halls at the same time. Many nights he gives up breaks and stays late just to do what he can do to help. There are many things a QMA cannot do, so I do those jobs and my QMA assists me on my end with the things they can do, we work as a team. It took me a while to trust them but the ones that work with us are very caring and very observant. My husband floats to all the halls and quite frankly, he has a better eye for catching medication errors and order transcription errors than any nurse in the building. He catches at least 4-5 every month because he works all the halls and knows what the residents take. If it's different on the MAR, he always checks the orders. Perhaps the training differs from state to state but my husband can tell you side effects for nearly ever drug he gives. Yes, his initial class was only 6 weeks but then he had to have a certain number of hours with an RN to even qualify to take his test. My husband takes his job very seriously and monitors the residents very closely for any symptoms which could mean they are having an adverse reaction to a new medication. Many of our nurses have encouraged him to go on to nursing school
but he doesn't want to, but he is good at what he does. Yes in an ideal world, only nurses would pass meds but if I am faced with doing my very hectic, heavy duty unit alone with med passes that would total nearly 6 hours, not counting blood sugars, insulins, breathing treatments, treatments galore and at least 2+ hours of paperwork, I am very happy to work with my husband. Everyone comments that we make an excellent team. One the surface, their training does seem trivial compared to what we go through but we have many excellent QMA's where I work and the ones that aren't, we get rid of or put them back to the floor. Just as one should not make the generalized statements about RN's or LPN's, until you have actually worked with QMA's, please do not be so quick to judge. Many of them take their job more seriously than some of the nurses.