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Medication Aide

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There is currently five states that have a "Medication Aide" training course for STNA's to be able to pass medication to pt. This is a 120 hour program according to the Ohio board of nursing. I wanted to here the pro's and con's of working with a medication aide. As an RN would you allow an STNA to admister medications under your license?

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

I guess that if a facility decides to utilize medication aides, if the nurse wants to remain there, she may not have a choice. If it were a situation where that aide takes total responsibility for her mistakes, then, it would not matter to me. But from what I understand, it falls under the licensed nurse, and that is not fair to me.

There are many medication aides that really try their best to adhere to their teachings, follow policy, etc...then, you have the wild cards who believe they are nurses, make judgements that may not be safe.

No, I wouldn't let a MA pass meds under my license.

C-DIFF PHIL RN

Specializes in icu/er ccrn.

we do not have med aids here in mississippi, but a coworker of mine just returned from working in tx where they have med aids. he claims a vast majority work alot of long term care sites nsg homes and such. futhermore his opinion is that they are good at passing pills, but as far as knowing the proper pharmakinetics of the drugs and watching s/sx's of reactions and non theraputic levels and toxicity which we all know can be very subtle, he voices some concern. but the idea of having my license on the line is a sour point for me.

Elvish, BSN, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery.

This is nothing personal, but I try to put my license on the line as little as possible. I do not want to be held responsible for a medication that an unlicensed person gives under my license. That's just me, and it's not a knock at any one person; however, it seems to me that medication aide position was created with the purpose of saving money on nurses' salaries.

I can understand the concern about having a medication aide under your license.

I just spent a year in a facilty with medication aides, and I can say only once or twice did a problem arise.

It cut down on the time the nurses had to spend doing that task. It also gave the nurse more time to assess the patients everyday.

No the medication aides didn't know what signs and symptoms to look for or toxicity levels but we had checks and balances in place for that.

A pharmacist came in and check the books once a month, and made sure no drug interactions would occur.

A RN checked everytime a new drug was ordered.

Notes were made to the Medication aides when starting a new drug, what signs and symptoms to look for.

The problems that we did have occur were the count was off. Everytime but one the error was found before the next shift started.

It was later discovered that the error that did occur, was not the medication aides fault. The bubble pack was faulty the pills began falling out on their own and the bag they were in had a hole.

The only problems I did have with this was the requirements a person must meet to become a medication aide.

I wrote my state representative, govern, the health department, senator, and etc.

The person could not have history of any:

VIOLENT BEHAVIOURs

Larceny

Child abuse

Arseny

and that was about it.

The same requirements for a CNA, my biggest problem with this is our facility had to know drug addicts passing bills.

One was currently serving time our her days off for drug possession charges.

The other had numerous DUI's, and drug dealing offenses.

It would have been very easy for them to pop the bills go into the residents room (especially those with dementia, or other conditions that didn't allow them to communicate) and pretend they gave them their narcotics. Slip the pill easily into their pocket and no one would be the wiser.

The facility didn't do drug testing, and even if they did the one with drug possession charges may not test hot. They had an active prescription for xanax and other prescriptions. The benefit of stealing the pills for them would be to save on prescription costs.

So if these issues were fixed like background checks for related offenses, and drug testing. I feel it is a positive position to have in a facility!!

As a certified medication aide in Ohio, I wanted to clear up a few misconceptions I'm finding here. Yes, we do take a 120 hour course to be certified - that equates to roughly the amount of time a nurse would spend taking pharmacology. Nurses have a wealth of education and knowledge of nursing, and we are by no means trying to replace that, but it upsets me to see that people fear for patient’s safety because we "don't know what we are doing". Statistically, the med error rate drops by almost 20% in facilities that have medication aides. Why? Because all we do are pass meds. We are not a replacement for the nurse who evaluates, plans and manages the patient’s care, we are simply the extra set of hands to do med passes. And, if that nurse is doing her job well, the patient actually gets better care because the nurse has time to plan, evaluate, and monitor the patient instead of push a med cart around half the day. I’m sure no one feels that STNAs threaten patient safety, and I would be willing to bet most nurses are very thankful they don’t have to perform most of the STNAs jobs. Medication aides are just the same. We are here to support and help the nursing staff give the best care possible.

I loved having med aides in TX. The vast majority were very good at what they did (like any job there are duds- and some nurses were worse than the worst med aide). They knew what they could and couldn't do- and got the nurse when they needed to.

I liked them :)

dream'n, BSN, RN

Specializes in UR/PA, Hematology/Oncology, Med Surg, Psych. Has 28 years experience.

As a certified medication aide in Ohio, I wanted to clear up a few misconceptions I'm finding here. Yes, we do take a 120 hour course to be certified - that equates to roughly the amount of time a nurse would spend taking pharmacology. Nurses have a wealth of education and knowledge of nursing, and we are by no means trying to replace that, but it upsets me to see that people fear for patient's safety because we "don't know what we are doing". Statistically, the med error rate drops by almost 20% in facilities that have medication aides. Why? Because all we do are pass meds. We are not a replacement for the nurse who evaluates, plans and manages the patient's care, we are simply the extra set of hands to do med passes. And, if that nurse is doing her job well, the patient actually gets better care because the nurse has time to plan, evaluate, and monitor the patient instead of push a med cart around half the day. I'm sure no one feels that STNAs threaten patient safety, and I would be willing to bet most nurses are very thankful they don't have to perform most of the STNAs jobs. Medication aides are just the same. We are here to support and help the nursing staff give the best care possible.

That's fine, BUT is it true that they work under the nurses license? If so, that's the deal breaker; no ands, ifs, or buts. NO ONE works under my license but me, don't care who ya are.

Nccity2002, MSN, RN

Specializes in Trauma/Critical Care. Has 10 years experience.

As a certified medication aide in Ohio, I wanted to clear up a few misconceptions I'm finding here. Yes, we do take a 120 hour course to be certified - that equates to roughly the amount of time a nurse would spend taking pharmacology. Nurses have a wealth of education and knowledge of nursing, and we are by no means trying to replace that, but it upsets me to see that people fear for patient's safety because we "don't know what we are doing". Statistically, the med error rate drops by almost 20% in facilities that have medication aides. Why? Because all we do are pass meds. We are not a replacement for the nurse who evaluates, plans and manages the patient's care, we are simply the extra set of hands to do med passes. And, if that nurse is doing her job well, the patient actually gets better care because the nurse has time to plan, evaluate, and monitor the patient instead of push a med cart around half the day. I'm sure no one feels that STNAs threaten patient safety, and I would be willing to bet most nurses are very thankful they don't have to perform most of the STNAs jobs. Medication aides are just the same. We are here to support and help the nursing staff give the best care possible.

Hi MA-C

Thank you for the clarification.

You are right, althought a medication aide's sole job is to pass medications, it is still the nurse responsibility to assess and evaluate her five medications rights. We also have to remember, this trend is predominally found in long term care where residents are basically, living "at home". Still, my discomfort level is on the fact that it is so easy to miss something (ex: metrolopol med...HR

:twocents::twocents:

OCNRN63, RN

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

As a certified medication aide in Ohio, I wanted to clear up a few misconceptions I'm finding here. Yes, we do take a 120 hour course to be certified - that equates to roughly the amount of time a nurse would spend taking pharmacology. Nurses have a wealth of education and knowledge of nursing, and we are by no means trying to replace that, but it upsets me to see that people fear for patient's safety because we "don't know what we are doing". Statistically, the med error rate drops by almost 20% in facilities that have medication aides. Why? Because all we do are pass meds. We are not a replacement for the nurse who evaluates, plans and manages the patient's care, we are simply the extra set of hands to do med passes. And, if that nurse is doing her job well, the patient actually gets better care because the nurse has time to plan, evaluate, and monitor the patient instead of push a med cart around half the day. I'm sure no one feels that STNAs threaten patient safety, and I would be willing to bet most nurses are very thankful they don't have to perform most of the STNAs jobs. Medication aides are just the same. We are here to support and help the nursing staff give the best care possible.

Sorry, I wouldn't want a med aide for two major reasons:

1. What a med aide does reflects on my license. If you screw up, I'm the one with the license to lose, not you. I worked hard to get that license. I'm not going to let a med aide potentially take it away from me.

2. Delegating med administration to med aides is just one more way for administrators to "dumb-down" nursing skills. "Oh, it's just passing pills." It's much more than that. Nurses assess their patients while they are giving meds. Med aides don't assess and evaluate patients. What next are they going to consider something that can be turfed to an "aide?" This is one more step toward the dumbing-down of our profession. We, licensed nurses, need to fight this. If someone wants to pass medications and look like a nurse, then go to nursing school and learn how to do it right. Med aides may be well intentioned, but they simply don't have the education of a nurse.

Sorry, I wouldn't want a med aide for two major reasons:

1. What a med aide does reflects on my license. If you screw up, I'm the one with the license to lose, not you. I worked hard to get that license. I'm not going to let a med aide potentially take it away from me.

2. Delegating med administration to med aides is just one more way for administrators to "dumb-down" nursing skills. "Oh, it's just passing pills." It's much more than that. Nurses assess their patients while they are giving meds. Med aides don't assess and evaluate patients. What next are they going to consider something that can be turfed to an "aide?" This is one more step toward the dumbing-down of our profession. We, licensed nurses, need to fight this. If someone wants to pass medications and look like a nurse, then go to nursing school and learn how to do it right. Med aides may be well intentioned, but they simply don't have the education of a nurse.

Medication aides in Texas are certified so they do stand to lose their certification too. You are taught all the side effects and what to watch out for. You are also taught to assess the patient before giving meds. You are not taught to just "pass a pill". You are taught what to check before hand and after.

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