Students, RNs and medication admin - Is this crossing boundaries?

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    I am a first year first semester nursing student. I have been in clinical for 11 weeks. We started passing meds 3 weeks ago. Our clinical group has 8 students an our instructor has been dividing the group in half for passing meds - as in 4 students get to pass this week and 4 the next. I completely understand this, as she does not have time to supervise all 8 of us in the act of scanning wristbands, verifying barcodes and dosages, etc. for all 8 pts before 9am for 8am meds. My question is, as I have (I believe) proven myself to be a reliable student so far (I understand and can explain my patient's diagnosis, the classification, action, side effects, etc of all drugs,) would it be presumptuous of me to either my instructor or, more importantly, the assigned nurse, to ask if the nurse could supervise me giving meds? Rather than my instructor? If you are a nurse, would this make you uncomfortable since I am only first semester? If you are an instructor would this worry you because you are "responsible" for me? Thanks for the input, don't know the politics and don't want to step on anyone's toes...
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  3. 23 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    thread moved for best response
  5. 5
    Not in my school or any of the clinical facilities we rotated through. Students were only permitted to perform invasive procedures ( at least the first few times ) and pass medications under the direct supervision of a clinical instructors

    If the option of passing meds under the supervision of a staff nurse was not offered, it is likely not a possibility especially as a first semester student.

    As a nurse I would not want the responsibility of a first semester student on their first med passes.
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    It wouldn't likely be allowed because the instructor is responsible for supervising medication passes. If they are going to be held responsible they will have to be the ones doing the supervising. They wouldn't likely "pass on" the responsibility to a staff member.
    Carrie RN and SoldierNurse22 like this.
  7. 1
    Depends on the policies of the school and the host facility. Remember, the instructor is responsible for you; the nurse is responsible for her patients. The nurse may have 6 or 7 patients to give medications to, and taking the time to supervise you may make his/her other patients' medications late. There is a reason your instructor/school limits the number of students passing meds to only 4.

    As you are a first semester nursing student, I can understand your desire to do more. However, stay within what your school policies/ instructor directions tell you to do. It's only been 3 weeks; give it time. We weren't allowed to pass oral meds solo until 3rd semester of clinicals. IV meds weren't even introduced until 2nd semester, and until the last semester required instructor presence. In the last semester, we had to be signed off by that instructor before being allowed to do solo IV meds.
    Apples&Oranges likes this.
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    I'm a current student... just not 1st semester. In 1st, you pretty much work entirely under the direct supervision of the clinical instructor. After 1st Semester, we're checked off on PO med pass with our clinical instructors and can usually do PO meds on our own. Certainly this is the case with 3rd Semester students. As long as I'm familiar with the meds, I can give them. We still have to have an RN or Instructor with us when we do anything except rate verification of IV lines or inject a medication. Next Semester, we'll do IV push meds and the like, and toward the end, we'll do pretty much everything.

    Don't worry, there's lots to learn and a reason why your school does what it does. (Med error prevention!!!!!)
    Apples&Oranges likes this.
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    I've never worked in any place where the majority of med administration by a student wasn't done with the staff Nurse as the one supervising the student. Although first semester/quarter Nursing students rarely if ever have a Hospital rotation, but at least after that it's actually pretty rare in my experience for students to pass meds with their instructor instead of the RN they are paired with.
    KelRN215 likes this.
  10. 1
    Quote from JustBeachyNurse
    As a nurse I would not want the responsibility of a first semester student on their first med passes.
    Agreed. It doesn't matter if you are the class' top student: unless you were a prior LVN (and to be honest, even if you were a prior LVN), I'd rather that you have been judged competent by your instructor first...and that's not going to happen after just one med pass in the first semester.

    Patience, young padawan. Your time will soon come.
    diver117 likes this.
  11. 2
    As MunoRN's statement attests, it depends on the facility policy, school policy, and unit culture to determine if a nurse can be responsible for an SNs med pass on a regular rotation. I think you could ask your clinical instructor if it's ok, but I would wait until the nurse offered to accompany you on med pass.

    Where I work, nurses can supervise med pass IF they want to. If I have time, I will accompany my student to first med pass for her co-assigned patient and supervise closely, otherwise, I leave it up to the instructor. If I have to hang IVPB or a new bag of fluids, I'll also talk them through it while they do the actual skill. Same with wound care.
    KelRN215 and Apples&Oranges like this.
  12. 2
    Quote from akulahawk
    After 1st Semester, we're checked off on PO med pass with our clinical instructors and can usually do PO meds on our own. Certainly this is the case with 3rd Semester students. As long as I'm familiar with the meds, I can give them.
    When you say "PO meds on your own," do you mean give them after the instructor has reviewed them/labs/VS/NPO status/etc. with you, or do you mean that you check the MAR and just give whatever is scheduled on your own without any supervision?

    If it's the latter, hrm. I, as the nurse responsible for the patient, wouldn't like that. At all.
    KelRN215 and sapphire18 like this.


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