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Medication Administration Policies

Following agency policies and procedures, your chief task/duty is to assist the nurse in giving certain prescribed drugs. In most cases, unless allowed by state law, the nurse must convert drug dosages where needed and directly supervise the administration of the drugs you give.

Agency guidelines guide you in how to receive drug orders, storage and distribution of medications, and documentation and other record keeping related to medication administration. This includes procedures for handling and disposing of controlled substances/drugs identified by state and federal agencies as scheduled drugs, which means they must be carefully monitored and inventoried.

According to agency policy, you must report to the nurse immediately any emergency you observe while administering medications, help resolve the emergency per procedure, and participate in any quality-improvement activities that may result from the incident.

Medical Error Prevention

Preventing medical errors is a primary responsibility of all healthcare personnel. As a member of the healthcare team, you must ensure that your performance adheres to all administrative policies and procedures that serve to keep the client safe. Other measures essential for promoting client safety by preventing drug errors include the following:

  • Following the prescriber’s orders
  • Following the drug manufacturer’s directions
  • Following accepted drug administration standards, including performing safety checks, and observing the six rights (or principles) of administering medications
  • Listening to the client or family
  • Notifying the nurse if questions or situations arise that could threaten client safety

Maintaining your competence (knowledge, skills, and attitude) will also go a long way to help prevent errors when giving medications. Should you make an error, you are responsible for following agency policy in reporting it immediately to your supervisor and for participating in any remediation necessary to prevent a recurrence; this includes submitting a medication error report (incident report) per agency policy. Failure to report a performance error could result in termination from the agency and/or discipline by the accrediting agency of the state in which you work.

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