As the baby boom generation ages, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities will be tested in their ability to provide care. Many use a limited number of registered nurses to supervise vocational nurses and nurses’ aides, enabling lower-cost staff to provide routine care. In some states, specially-trained nurses’ aides called Certified Medication Aides stretch care further, by administering routine medications to patients.
Certified medication aides are nurses’ aides first, and must have a strong grasp of basic patient care. As the staff members with the most direct patient contact, nurses’ aides are responsible for observing and reporting any change in their patients’ condition. They must clearly understand the legal and ethical limits of their position, which doesn’t permit them to change a patient’s medications, provide injections or start intravenous drips. Medication aides must understand medical and pharmacological terminology, and manage medications for a large number of patients without making dosage errors or providing medications to the wrong patient.
Medication aides work most often in long-term care settings, including correctional facilities, in some states. Candidates for medication aide positions, like others in nursing-related jobs, typically are required to pass criminal background checks.
Primary CMA Duties
The medication aide’s role is providing routine daily medications, either prescription or non-prescription, to patients whose condition and drug regimen are stable. The aide has a list of patients and medications each day, and must administer medications in the indicated dosage at the correct time. The aide must ensure the patient actually swallows the medications, which can be an issue with rebellious patients or those with dementia. A warm and encouraging manner can be useful to win the patient’s willing compliance. If the medication aide observes a change in the patient’s vital signs or behavior, or any other indication of adverse effects from a medication, it must be reported to the charge nurse.
When they’re not actively dispensing medications or preparing medications for the next set of rounds, certified medication aides revert to the duties they share with other certified nurses’ aides. Those consist of basic hands-on nursing care, such as bathing and feeding patients, helping them with toilet visits and basic hygiene, or supervising their participation in exercise or physical therapy. When functioning as a nursing aide, the aide is supervised by practical or registered nurses. Supervision for medication aides must come from the registered nurse acting as charge nurse for that shift.
The method of payment sometimes defines who may or may not do certain tasks, both in facilities and in homecare. For instance, when Medicare or Medicaid is picking up the tab, the rules may be different than if a resident paid for the service privately. Therefore, it is possible that a medication aide in a nursing home could work with some patients in long-term care but not with others.
The training for medication aides includes forty eight hours of clinical instruction online via online course modules.
Good mental and physical health, and understanding of written and spoken English are required for medication aides. Successful communication with the patient or resident in long-term care—as well as with the nursing staff, attending physicians and the patient’s family—is vital. The five rights of the patient are critical, emphasizes the Nurses Service Organization: The right medication, for the right patient, in the right dose, via the right route of delivery, at the right time.
Phlebotomy Career Training now offers the complete medication course online for $300.00 Students across the U.S. are welcome to take this course. Certifications will be mailed out within two weeks after course completion