How to Become a Medication Aide, a.k.a Medication Technician

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A medication aide, also known in some states as a medication technician or assistive medication administration personnel (AMAP), is an important member of the healthcare team who has been trained to provide skilled assistance to registered nurses and licensed practical / vocational nurses in the realm of medication therapy.

In essence, medication aides are entrusted with the safe administration of nonparenteral drugs to patients and residents in a wide variety of healthcare settings outside the acute care hospital. Medication aides have received the pharmacological knowledge and practical training to assist licensed nursing staff by administering medications to patients and residents.

The main duty of a medication aide entails the safe, prudent administration of nonparenteral medications to patients. In most states, medication aides are permitted to distribute oral, topical, transdermal, eye and ear medicines to patients under the supervision of licensed nursing staff (LPNs/ LVNs and RNs). Medication aides also communicate with patients and residents, document all medications they have administered, report changes in patients’ conditions to nurses, and obtain vital signs.

Medication aides are typically employed in workplace settings such as nursing homes, extended care facilities, intermediate care facilities, personal care group homes, assisted living facilities, schools and correctional facilities. Due to rules and regulations that exist in most states, virtually all medication aides must have prior patient care experience as certified nursing assistants (CNAs) or unlicensed direct care staff workers.

To be able to enroll in most medication aide training programs across the United States, prospective students will need to be at least 18 years of age by the first day of class. Prospective students must also possess a high school diploma or general education diploma (GED) and provide evidence of current employment as a CNA or unlicensed direct care staff person before the first day of school.

In many states such as Missouri, the medication aide program consists of a minimum of 60 hours of classroom instruction along with 8 hours of clinical practicum training at a nursing facility. On the other hand, the requirements to complete a medication aide program in Texas are much more stringent: 100 hours of classroom instruction, 30 hours of return skills demonstrations and 10 hours of hands-on clinical practicum training.

The medication aide program coursework consists of instruction in a variety of topics such as medical terminology, fundamental review of systems of the human body, medicinal effects on each body system, principles of infection control, and different medication classifications. The overriding point of the medication aide program curriculum is to equip students with enough knowledge to administer medications in the safest manner possible.

Graduates of medication aide programs must also take and pass a written medication aide examination in the state where they intend to work. The medication aide test normally consists of 100 multiple choice questions that assess the test taker’s knowledge of medication therapy. Adequate preparation for the medication aide test is of the utmost importance. After all, who wants to fail this important test and be forced to retake it?

Graduates who pass the written medication aide test will be awarded a practice permit or state certification as a certified medication aide. This certification enables the medication aide to legally secure employment in a variety of healthcare settings for higher wages than those typically earned by CNAs and direct care workers. Moreover, the working conditions of medication aides tend to be less physically grueling than those endured by CNAs and direct care workers.

Legacy Healthcare Careers CNA School is excited to announce the planned opening of a medication aide program to prospective students who live and work in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex of Texas. Please place a telephone call to Legacy Healthcare Careers at (682)626-5266 for additional information. More updates will be provided to the public as the medication aide program progresses further along in its nascent development.

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