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Can student administer medication without RN supervision?

Students   (41,915 Views 113 Comments)
by AnneN AnneN (New) New

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Is it possible (legal) for a student nurse to administer medication without supervision of the preceptor nurse or the clinical instructor?

I know it happens all the time, and often if the student makes a mistake, she is severely penalized.

I am wondering whether it is possible for the hospital, preceptor nurse or clinical instructor to allow the student nurse to administer medication without providing supervision through every step of the way.

I was told by someone that it is illegal (against Nurse Practice Act in most states) for a student to administer medication even if it is P.O., and that an RN must be with the student through every step of the process.

Is this true? Is this law different from state to state? Or is this pretty much the same in all states?

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KeeperMom has 10 years experience and specializes in ED.

639 Posts; 9,044 Profile Views

Truly a valid question. We are not, however, allowed to give any sort of 'legal' advice on this forum.

Rules, laws, and protocols vary from state to state and even from facility to facility. While some things may be technically legal it may not be allowed at a particular facility too.

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Double-Helix has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU.

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I can't speak to the legality, but I do know that it is common practice at my school. It is, however, at the discretion of the clinical instructor and the nurse in charge of the patient. Ultimately it is the nurse's responsibility to make sure that the patient is getting safe and quality care.

I think the real answer might be found in your facility's policy and procedure manual, or your state's Nurse Practice Act.

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136 Posts; 4,874 Profile Views

I'm not sure about the legalities, but in my clinical groups and I'm sure many others, the instructor and nurse can't always be with everyone at once. From my experience, once my nurse or instructor feels that I am competent in giving meds through any route, they just sign off on the med with me and go help another student. I have also been in the ER and have administered meds and did minor procedures without the supervision of a nurse. Luckily I haven't caused any concern.

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NurseLoveJoy88 has 6 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC.

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I'm not sure about the legalities, but in my clinical groups and I'm sure many others, the instructor and nurse can't always be with everyone at once. From my experience, once my nurse or instructor feels that I am competent in giving meds through any route, they just sign off on the med with me and go help another student. I have also been in the ER and have administered meds and did minor procedures without the supervision of a nurse. Luckily I haven't caused any concern.

The part in bold is Scary ~~:eek:.

To the OP. Please familiarize yourself with the nurse practice act and the policies at your school. At my CC students can not administer meds without it being okay by the CI.

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136 Posts; 4,874 Profile Views

By minor procedures I mean putting in foleys and startig IV's. Lol sorry.

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sandyfeet has 5 years experience and specializes in Emergency Nursing.

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By the end of this semester we could give PO meds and some topical meds, but nothing via IV alone. We had to demonstrate competency with our instructor first before we were allowed to do anything.

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~Mi Vida Loca~RN has 6 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics.

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We always had to have an instructor or Co-Nurse with us during clinicals, during our Senior Practicum it was up to our Preceptor what her level of trust was with us since we didn't have a CI there. All the hospitals here though require a nurse to get into Pyxsis. The students aren't given their own ID's for this. If we were ever caught giving a med without an CI or Co-Nurse during our clinicals it would be an automatic dismissal from the program.

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llg has 42 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

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At my hospital ... if we ever caught any instructor allowing his/her students to give any kind of medication without direct supervision ... that instructor would be barred from our facility. If the school condoned it, we would cancel all of that school's rotations. Meds can only be given by nurses -- and student's aren't nurses.

If you have a question about the laws in your state, I recommend checking the Nurse Practice Act.

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36 Posts; 1,520 Profile Views

My husband was in the er and a student nurse gave meds with no RN or preceptor around. I actually seen the student nurse more than the supervisor nurse. She was polite and we had no issues. I'm sure the Nurse checks all meds before she gives them.

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~Mi Vida Loca~RN has 6 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics.

5,259 Posts; 31,164 Profile Views

At my hospital ... if we ever caught any instructor allowing his/her students to give any kind of medication without direct supervision ... that instructor would be barred from our facility. If the school condoned it, we would cancel all of that school's rotations. Meds can only be given by nurses -- and student's aren't nurses.

If you have a question about the laws in your state, I recommend checking the Nurse Practice Act.

So students aren't allowed to give medications in your hospital, even with a Co-Nurse or CI present?

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~Mi Vida Loca~RN has 6 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics.

5,259 Posts; 31,164 Profile Views

My husband was in the er and a student nurse gave meds with no RN or preceptor around. I actually seen the student nurse more than the supervisor nurse. She was polite and we had no issues. I'm sure the Nurse checks all meds before she gives them.

It's pretty common to see the students more than anyone else, as students we have more time we can spend with the patients, primarily in our clinical experience. During practicum when we basically take on the full load and the nurse shadows us, it's different. I would be concerned with a student giving medication without someone supervising. In our practicums it was a different. But at least during regular clinicals. Then again I saw a lot of concerning things regarding meds during my clinicals.

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