Have you ever considered becoming a medication technician? Do you know what they do? The medication technician is usually a certified nurses assistant, home health aide or direct care worker. While it is true that both licensed practical nurses and registered nurses pass medications, there is a high demand for non-licensed healthcare workers to be adept at medication pass. Licensed medical professionals such as nurses spend at least one to two years in clinical rotation passing medications to patients. Which is why that teaching the unlicensed health care provider requires a in depth and rigorous course.
Knowing how to pass medications safely can save lives. Even the best nurses have made medication errors. It’s a fact. Somewhere in the career of a nurse, they will make a medication error. Hopefully, they will catch it before giving the wrong medications to their patients.
The key to learning how to pass medications safely is having thorough knowledge of human physiology and knowledge of the medication. Knowledge of the medication does not just mean the name of the medication, but the generic name, the usual dosage or dosage based upon body mass, the way the medication is metabolized, how the medication work on the different body systems and the side effects.
Normally side effects should be mild with most medications. There are however medications whose side effects can be deadly and lead to paralysis, coma or death. Therefore the medication aide should understand and know those medications which can cause such side effects and watch their patient carefully. Nurses are required to pass medication within either one hour prior to the time that the medication is due or one hour after. If the nurse is not able to administer the medication within this window it is considered a medication error and the physician must be notified.
Knowledge of proper patient identification should never be overlooked. Giving medication to the wrong patient could result in causing a deadly reaction. For instance, if a nurse or medication aide is passing a penicillin based antibiotic such as Amoxicillin, and accidentally gives it to the wrong patient who has a penicillin allergy, that patient could die from anaphylactic shock.
Therefore the nurse or medication aide must take their time when identifying their patients. They should ask the patient to spell their name first and last, provide their date of birth, room number and check their medical record number against their armband. The next thing that the medication aide or nurse should do is check, double check and triple check that they are giving the right dose at the right time. If the pill needs to be scored, or halved, does the pill have the scored line going through it? If not, then the pill cannot be scored. Why? Because a pill without the socred line means that even if you cut it in half, there is no guarantee that the half of the pill will contain half of the medication. It may actually contain 80% of the medication instead. Depending on how pharmacy doses certain medications, there may be pills that are provided as whole pills but the medication aide or nurse will be required to cut it in half.
Once the medication has been given the medication aide must re-check their patient in thirty minutes to make sure that they are not suffering any ill effects of the medication.
Once the medication is given, the medication aide must also chart the time that it was given and the route, whether it was orally, sublingually or subcutaneously.
Passing medication is a very great responsibility. But knowing how to do it safely can help people live longer and happier lives.