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Ohio's Medication Aide Program

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I am looking into this as a viable option for my nurse aides to have the opportunity to get a more challenging job within the facility. I would like some CONSTRUCTIVE comments either "pro" or "con." The course is 120 hours and the curriculum is set by the Ohio Board of Nursing. They are under their own liability, and can only pass PO's Topical, Eye/Nose/Ears, and Supps. They can not pass injectibles, or schedule II's. Please do not turn this into a thread about the attempts to eliminate nurses with cheaper aides. I am trying to get prepared for legimate questions that other DON's, Administrators or Nurses will be asking me.

Thanks, I hope I can help answer any questions you may have, while preparing for my upcoming meeting.

Laura

tyvin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC.

The question I always have is how in such a short time are the students prepared to understand and interpret the ramifications of what they're doing when they've had no prerequisites such as AnP or pharmacology. This begs the question can a person learn all that in such a short time as they have for their course work.

I understand completely why facilities are going this route. Not only does it save you money but as you mentioned it gives them a much more challenging opportunity to grow professionally. It's here or has been here for some time the passing of meds etc... by unlicensed staff; we need to assess how we can make it better for all.

Perhaps these potential employees/students can be required to take entry tests such as student nurses do to get into the program to assess their ability to function in such a job with those types of responsibilities or is that in play already?

Could you tell us how long they train or what type of education is required (short pp)?

Thank you,

Great question, what I am looking for!

In Ohio, they must already be STNA's prior to being accepted into the program. The program is at least 120 hours and does address side effects of medications. I would like to make a couple of comparisons from my days of nursing school (RN, ADN). I took a 3 credit hour Pharmacology course ( 1 credit hour= about 16 clock hours) this would suggest that I only received around 48 hours of instructional time to learn the oodles of medications, doses, and side effects. Additional time can be factored into the clinical preparation I received in learning how to actually pass the medications.

I would also like to add as far as the Aides being capable to note condition changes, adverse reactions, or therapeutic results, they already do. As a RN, I am so busy passing meds that I rarely have time to see the resident after the three minutes I spend giving them their pills. I depend on the Aide to make these observations for me because they are performing the hands on care.

Before being able to pass medications on their own, they must pass a state test, or both written and psychomotor components. I plan on being harder than the minimum requirements, so I think the facilities could adjust to the needs of their facility.

Thanks, feel free to add more to this important discussion

Up2nogood RN, RN

Specializes in pulm/cardiology pcu, surgical onc.

I believe our med aides in Oregon are required to take a 120 hr course also along with 80? or more hrs in clinicals. They take state boards and are licensed through the state. I was a med aide early in my career and felt adequately prepared to pass medications to stable LTC residents after proper training in the classroom/clinicals. I actually learned more about medications in med aide training than in nursing school. I've worked on both sides of the fence and know that in almost all facilities med aides were only utilized on days and evenings, the nurse was responsible for prn's and some timed meds during the night.

I believe as long as you have a competent licensed med aide it helps out the nurse tremendously to free you up for nursing tasks (assessments, wound care). We only use licensed med aides in LTC and there are unlicensed med aides in assisted living facilities/retirement communities/group homes and that's a whole other thread in itself.

I think an added benefit as time goes on will be that potential employees will look to work at your facility because they hope to have the opportunity to get this training. It will help to set your facility above the others in terms of desirability and you will have a greater pool of applicants from which to choose.

Up2nogood RN, RN

Specializes in pulm/cardiology pcu, surgical onc.

I think an added benefit as time goes on will be that potential employees will look to work at your facility because they hope to have the opportunity to get this training. It will help to set your facility above the others in terms of desirability and you will have a greater pool of applicants from which to choose.

It can also help attract nurses since they won't have to pass most routine meds any longer.

A question to the OP, will utilizing med aides work with the budget and will it cut some licensed nursing positions?

I think if it cuts nurse's positions you will have a hard time making this idea go over with your fellow nurses. Management would probably love the idea of spending less money in the long run though!

The big problem I see in LTC is NOBODY ever wants to be the first! Once somebody does it, others will follow suit. As a RN, I hate passing meds. I would love to have help doing this, so I could use some other skills specific to my abilities. I can't stand being tied down to my cart, with blinders on to the rest of the world because it involves such careful concentration. I would LOVE to be able to spend more time with my residents, supervise the aides more, provide better teaching/training and to not have to tell anyone that I am in the middle of a timed med pass and whatever they need might have to wait.

I am not territorial and feel blessed to work with some pretty talented Nurse Aides that are smart and eager to learn a higher acuity of skills, anxious for more respect, and to get a break from the strenous physical load of their current job.

Everyone can think of the few people that should NOT pursue this type of work. I have to trust the certification process that those people will never be successful enough to pass the program.

It can also help attract nurses since they won't have to pass most routine meds any longer.

A question to the OP, will utilizing med aides work with the budget and will it cut some licensed nursing positions?

I think if it cuts nurse's positions you will have a hard time making this idea go over with your fellow nurses. Management would probably love the idea of spending less money in the long run though!

Currently, The Ohio Department of Health still mandates a certain number of skilled nursing hours per number of residents. I don't see that changing anytime soon, so the facilities must follow those standards. Years from now you may hear me say "careful for what you wish for" after I no longer have a job!

But right now, I would sure like the help!