Healthcare Career Spotlight: the Certified Medication Aide

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Certified medication aides, also known in some states in the U.S. as assistive medication administration personnel or medication technicians, have a clearly defined role in the allied healthcare field that is definitely worth exploring further. The overriding goal of this piece is to discuss the medication aide, including the day to day duties and responsibilities associated with this role.

Medication aides are helpful members of the allied healthcare team who assist licensed nurses in the realm of medication therapy. The primary function of the medication aide is safe administration of non-injectable over-the-counter and prescription drugs to clients, patients and residents. Medication aides work at the bedside to distribute medications to a large number of clients in a timely manner.

Medication aides are utilized extensively in certain settings, but never found in other types of workplaces. Post-acute healthcare settings such as long term care facilities, personal care group homes, correctional facilities, schools and assisted living facilities utilize medication aides regularly depending on the state. Meanwhile, medication aides are not utilized in the acute care hospital setting.

Most, but not all, states in the U.S. allow medication aides to work. In the states that do allow the use of medication aides, they are permitted to administer oral, topical, transdermal, eye and ear medicines to clients under the supervision of a licensed nurse. In addition, medication aides communicate with clients, report changes in patients’ conditions, obtain vital signs, and document their findings.

Because of pre-existing regulations in most states, the vast majority of medication aides have prior patient care work experience as certified nursing assistants (CNAs) or unlicensed assistive direct care workers. To be admitted into most medication aide training programs, students must be 18 years of age or older with a high school diploma or G.E.D. and submit evidence of work experience as a CNA or direct care worker.

The educational requirements to become a medication aide differ in each state. For instance, the requirements to become a medication aide in Texas entail 140 hours of training. The 140-hour medication aide training programs in Texas are comprised of 100 hours of classroom (didactic) teaching, 30 hours of hands-on return skill demonstrations and 10 hours of clinical externship practicum.

The medication aide training classes consist of a targeted review of a number of relevant topics such as medical terminology, human body systems, effects of medication on each body system, infection control, and drug medication classifications. The goal of the medication aide program curriculum is to bestow pertinent knowledge upon students so they will be able to administer medications safely and prudently.

Individuals who graduate from medication aide programs must also pass a written medication aide examination in the state where they plan to secure employment. The medication aide state test usually contains 100 multiple choice questions on medication therapies. Students who pass the written medication aide state test receive a practice permit or state certification as a certified medication aide.

The state medication aide certification and/or practice permit allows the certified individual to work in a wide variety of healthcare settings for fairly competitive pay. In addition, the working conditions of medication aides are generally not as demanding on the body as those experienced by nursing assistants and direct care workers. For many people, a career as a medication aide is a step up.

How does a career in the healthcare industry sound? A career as a medication aide is an awesome entry point into the healthcare field. Working in the allied healthcare field as a medication aide can serve as a wondrously great foundation to any person’s occupational future. 

Legacy Healthcare Careers will soon be offering a medication aide program in the spring of 2019 at our Fort Worth area campus. Place that phone call to (682)626-5266 or the 24-hour hotline at (682)313-6404 to get more information. This is an opportunity that should not be passed up.

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Why Would Anyone Become a Medication Aide /Medication Technician?

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A medication aide, also referred to as a medication technician or assistive medication administration personnel (AMAP) in a handful of select U.S. states, is an allied healthcare worker whose primary responsibility is administering non-injectable prescription and over-the-counter medications to clients.

Medication aides work under the oversight of registered nurses, licensed practical /vocational nurses (LPNs /LVNs) and other members of managerial staff to set up, administer and observe the effects of clients’ medications. Medication aides also report changes in clients’ health conditions and might also be responsible for requesting reorders of prescription drugs per company policies and procedures.

Medication aides are typically found working in post-acute healthcare workplaces such as skilled nursing home facilities, personal care group homes, intermediate care facilities, assisted living facilities, retirement centers, correctional facilities, and schools. Generally, medication aides secure employment in non-hospital healthcare settings due to local regulations.

So, why would any person become a medication aide in this day and age? Well, the advantages of working as a medication aide are definitely worth mentioning. The role of a medication aide is associated with a number of tangible and intangible perks. Without further ado, keep reading to find out about the wonderful advantages of becoming a medication aide.

REASON ONE: The role of a medication aide can be incredibly fulfilling.

One of the main reasons people opt to become a medication aide is that a career in the healthcare industry can be enormously rewarding. The reality that a medication aide will work alongside other persons as a very important part of the healthcare team can produce powerful feelings of joy. In addition, the fulfillment is something intangible that the medication aide can take extreme pride in.

Medication aides also communicate with clients, thereby being in a position to put a smile on their faces or ease their anxieties. The knowledge that one person can make a positive impact by contributing to various clients’ well-being while possibly even prolonging their lives with timely medications makes the role of the medication aide meaningful and fulfilling.

REASON TWO: Flexible work schedules are available for medication aides.

Since healthcare facilities are in operation 24 hours per day, medication aides are often able to select the work schedules they would like to work. A medication aide with school-aged children can work the 7:00 am to 3:00 pm day shift while the kids are in school. Likewise, a medication aide who is single and into the party scene can work the 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. shift, enabling him or her to get off work in time to go to the club or visit late night parties.

Furthermore, the weekend double shift is an option at some facilities. Weekend work appeals to medication aides who attend school full-time during the week or simply have a preference for enjoying all their weekdays off in a row. Finally, many people are nocturnal late owls who prefer to sleep during the day while working all night. Many medication aides work the overnight shift due to 24-hour work scheduling.

REASON THREE: The working conditions of most medication aides are comfortable.

The workplace environments of most healthcare workers, including medication aides, are comfortable due to predetermined standards of cleanliness. Most individuals who work in the healthcare sector report to places of employment that are cleaned on a routine basis per protocol by housekeeping, as well as climate-controlled to promote comfort for workers, clients, family members, vendors and visitors.

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In the very near future, Legacy Healthcare Careers plans to offer a brand new certified medication aide training program to prospective students in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area who are employed as CNAs or direct care staff workers. Call (682)626-5266 for more details.

The staff of Legacy Healthcare Careers is in the initial phases of abiding by the varied regulatory steps connected with the addition of the certified medication aide classes to the school’s current nurse aide course offerings. More details will be added as the development of the certified medication aide training program reaches completion time.

 

Medication Aide /Medication Technician Practice Test Questions (Part Two)

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NOTE: This post is the second one in a series that contains medication aide practice test questions similar to the ones a test taker will most likely see on the state Medication Aide Competency Examination, or MACE for short. Answers to the practice test questions are supplied, as well as rationales. Click here to read Part One.

QUESTION: When administering oral medications to a nursing home resident who needs assistance, where should the medication aide ensure the pills, caplets or capsules are placed?

A. Onto the center of the tongue

B. Anywhere in the mouth is okay

C. Under the tongue

D. Between the inner cheek and the teeth

ANSWER: A

RATIONALE: Oral medications such as pills, capsules and caplets are to be placed on the middle of the tongue to promote greater ease with swallowing. Sublingual medications are the only type of oral drug that should be placed under the tongue. Pills and capsules that are placed between the inner cheek and teeth of a client might dissolve without ever being swallowed by the resident.

QUESTION: The medication aide is permitted to crush a client’s oral medications (e.g., pills and caplets) and mix with puddling, applesauce or jelly only if the following condition is met:

A. If the client requests the medications be crushed

B. If the medication administration record (MAR) indicates that the medications may be crushed

C. If the facility administrator requests the medications be crushed

D. If the client’s family member requests the medications be crushed

ANSWERB

RATIONALE: A medication aide should not crush or break pills, caplets or tablets or pills, or open and empty powder out of capsules, unless a pre-existing order on the client’s medication administration record indicates that the medications may be crushed. Some types of tablets, pills and capsules will not work as directed or may actually be harmful to the client if they have been crushed or opened prior to administration.

Many medications are in extended release form. This means they the medication is released in the client’s body patient over an extended period of time, typically several hours. If the client takes an extended release medication after it is crushed, this means the medicine will be released all at one time in the body. This might lead to the medication harming the client, similar to taking too much of a dose at once.

In addition, an extended release medication might be rendered less effective than the prescriber originally intended since it is no longer medicating the client during an extended period of time. For example, the anti-diabetic medication Metformin XR (Glucophage XR) is an extended release form of Metformin that is not to be crushed because it is intended to provide control over a client’s blood glucose levels over many hours.

Also, many drugs are coated to permit them to pass through the upper gastrointestinal tract undissolved with minimal side effects so they will be released in the small intestine instead of the stomach. Crushing a coated pill or caplet may result in unwanted side effects since the protective coating has now been crushed.

QUESTION: How would a medication aide determine that a medication should be given transdermally?

A. Ask a coworker

B. Find out from the client

C. Follow the directions on the MAR

D. Ask the manager

ANSWER: C

RATIONALE: The medication aide should always follow the directions printed on the medication administration record (MAR). The MAR contains the essential components of each medication order. These components include the medication’s name, current dose, frequency to administer the drug, route of administration, and original date the drug had been ordered by the healthcare provider.

Since the MAR contains the proper route of administration, a prudent medication aide would follow the directions on the client’s MAR to determine whether the drug should be administered in transdermal form.

 

Medication Aide /Medication Technician Practice Test Questions (Part One)

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Graduates of approved medication aide training programs must take and pass a state test called the Medication Aide Certification Examination, abbreviated as MACE for short, in order to receive a state-issued practice permit as a certified medication aide. In most states, the MACE typically consists of 100 test questions that directly pertain to safe medication therapy.

The best way to prepare for the MACE is to repeatedly answer medication aide practice test questions prior to sitting for the state exam. To prepare for this exam, a student should answer multiple practice test questions on a daily basis because repetition is the key to retaining the knowledge. In addition to answering test questions every single day, students should also review the rationales behind each answer.

QUESTION: What reason(s) should medication aides obey the six rights of medication administration each time medications are administered?

A. Recent changes might have been made on the dosage of the medication

B. Recent changes may have been made on the time the medication is to be given

C. Recent changes may have been made on the route the medication is to be given

D. All of the above

ANSWER: D

RATIONALE: Safe medication therapy involves checking the six rights of medication therapy each time medicines are administered. The six rights of medication administration include the following: 1) right patient 2) right medication 3) right dose 4) right route 5) right time, and 6) right documentation.

Due to the fact that a patient’s medication orders, times, dosages and routes often change at the physician’s discretion, adherence to the six rights of medication administration ensures patient safety in the realm of medication therapy. In addition, doctors often hold or discontinue medications, so the prudent medication aide would review the six rights of medication administration to avoid giving a medicine that the patient is no longer supposed to receive.

QUESTION: During the routine end-of-shift counting of controlled drugs, the medication aide notices that 10 pills of Xanax (Alprazolam) are missing from a prescription pill bottle. No one knows why the pills are missing. Which action should the medication aide take next?

A. Notify the charge nurse

B. Document the 10 pills as having been administered to a patient

C. Notify the administrator of the facility

D. Do nothing at the moment since 10 pills is not a large shortage

ANSWER: A

RATIONALE: The medication aide should notify the charge nurse each time the end-of-shift controlled drug medication count is inaccurate. This is true whether there is a shortage or overage of controlled medication. Controlled drugs are regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Additionally, the charge nurse knows the facility policies and procedures on how to proceed if the controlled medication drug count is not accurate.

It is not usually necessary to notify the facility administrator of issues relating to controlled medications. A medication aide who falsely documents the missing pills as having been given to a patient is engaging in falsification of medical records since the medication administration record (MAR) is an official medical record.

QUESTION: The medication aide is supposed to administer Metoprolol Tartrate (Lopressor) once per day at 8:00 a.m per the doctor’s order. The medication order has parameters to “hold if the pulse is less than 60.” The patient’s pulse is 55 this morning. What action should the medication aide take next?

A. Administer it anyway since a pulse of 55 is close enough to 60

B. Hold the medication and document it

C. Hold the medication, document it and immediately notify the patient’s nurse

D. Hold the medication, document it, and recheck the patient’s pulse to see if it reaches 60 beats per minute later in the morning

ANSWER: C

RATIONALE: It is common for some doctors to include vital sign parameters when ordering cardioactive medications that affect the heart rate and/or blood pressure. If the patient’s heart rate or blood pressure readings are less than the parameters associated with a medication order, the medication aide should hold the medication, document the action, and immediately notify the nurse.

Administering the medication could harm the patient by adversely affecting the heart rate. The prudent medication aide would not simply hold a medication and just document it without notifying the nurse because a low pulse may or may not signify a change in the patient’s usual condition.

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New Years Resolutions Related to Your Career

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Yes! The air is so thick with giddy anticipation that a person could figuratively cut through it with a knife. To some individuals, the new year is the most wondrous time of the year due to the professional and personal transformations that could be initiated if one is motivated enough to make changes. Another new year has entered our lives and consciousness along with the awesome promise of 365 new days that lie ahead.

Since everyone has been gifted with the same 365 days per calendar year, the ultimate goal is to avoid frittering those precious days away with lofty new years’ resolutions that turn out to be mostly unattainable. After all, it has been wisely said that time is an individual’s most valuable asset. Once a person wastes his or her valuable time, it is gone forever and can never be replenished again.

New years’ resolutions related to occupations and careers are of the utmost importance. After all, most people spend a considerable amount of their lives at work. In addition, the earnings from gainful employment often dictate how comfortable our personal lives will be. Bluntly put, money makes things happen, while a lack of money can cause even the best person to struggle with constant uphill battles related to finances.

For those who would like to make some career-related resolutions in the new year, the following is a brief list of ideas that may result in professional and personal self-improvement. Keep in mind that discomfort is usually the motivating factor that drives positive change in people. In other words, some of these new years’ resolutions might feel somewhat uncomfortable at first.

However, these new years’ resolutions are most definitely worth the time and effort in the long run for those who possess the perseverance and tenacity to keep plugging away at them. Without further ado, keep reading to find out about the actions that virtually any individual can take in order to transform one’s career prospects and overall value in the employment marketplace for the better.

Enter the healthcare industry

People who are unhappy with their current jobs or careers may wish to consider a career pathway in the healthcare sector. No matter the educational level, there is room for all types of people in the healthcare industry. A fulfilling position in the healthcare industry can be a life-changing new years’ resolution for so many individuals who are disgruntled with their present situations in life.

A dishwasher with a ninth grade education who is dissatisfied with his current job can transform his life and financial situation by completing a certified nursing assistant (CNA) program to become a nurses aide. Likewise, an overworked, underpaid social worker with a masters degree can retrain to become a registered nurse (RN), physicians assistant (PA-C) or any number of fulfilling roles in healthcare.

Pick up a technical-related skill

Let’s face it. Computers and technology are the towering waves of the future. Thus, it would be reasonable to say that those who are proficient with technical skills are the least likely to be left behind in this ever-changing, often brutal employment market. The olden adage advises people to either adapt or die! Knowledge is power, so empower yourself with relevant skills to boost your fund of knowledge.

People who are not very computer-literate might pursue an attainable goal of learning how to operate a basic computer. Those who are unfamiliar with the Microsoft Office suite of applications may wish to learn how to use Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint since many employers like to see these skills on a job applicant’s resume. Those who are already proficient should consider learning the basics of coding.

Pursue a volunteering opportunity

Volunteers often dictate the amount of time they can devote to their volunteering ventures. Furthermore, volunteering involves devoting one’s personal time to assist others, and providing assistance to others is an essential ingredient in altruism. Also, volunteering can cause the volunteer to feel good and build character by providing exposure to diverse life experiences.

Most hospice companies accept and train interested persons who want to volunteer their time to help terminally ill patients and their families. Another noble organization is Meals on Wheels, a nonprofit service that arranges deliveries of prepared meals to those who are homebound and unable to cook for themselves. Also, many emergency medical services (EMS) companies readily accept volunteers.

Legacy Healthcare Careers CNA School offers a 4-week CNA program as well as a 1-week (7 day) CNA program to prospective students who are located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. Both the 1-week and the 4-week CNA classes are state-approved.

Call (682)626-5266 to enroll in classes today. Legacy Healthcare Careers will also be offering a certified medication aide program later in 2019 to currently employed CNAs and unlicensed direct care staff workers who seek advancement in their healthcare careers.

Visit www.LegacyHealthcareCareers.com for additional info on the CNA classes offered at Legacy Healthcare Careers CNA School. Jump-start your legacy today…

 

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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Certified Medication Aide Training Program Coming Soon to the Fort Worth / Mid Cities Area!

 

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The staff of Legacy Healthcare Careers LLC CNA School is extremely pleased to announce the planned addition of a certified medication aide training program to the school’s high-quality nursing assistant course offerings. The addition of a certified medication aide program to the Fort Worth and Mid-Cities area is welcomed news to prospective students who would prefer to avoid an inconvenient commute to faraway cities for their career training needs.

The Fort Worth / Mid-Cities area certified medication aide training program is scheduled to start accepting new students for class enrollments during the early months of 2019. Additional information regarding specific class start dates will be released as the program progresses further in its nascent development.

The predominant purpose of the certified medication aide training program is to prepare individuals who are already employed as nursing assistants or direct care members of staff for higher-paying positions in the healthcare industry as certified medication aides in nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, group homes, assisted living, or skilled care nursing facilities.

The certified medication aide program has been formulated to teach students basic skills in the safe, prudent administration of non-parenteral medications. The ultimate goal of the certified medication aide program is to qualify graduates to administer medications in a safe manner and to assist licensed practical /vocational nurses (LPNs / LVNs) and/or professional registered nurses (RNs) in the important task of medication therapy.

The certified medication aide course of study in Texas is comprised of a minimum of 140 clock hours of targeted instruction. The 140 clock hours can be broken down into 100 classroom theory hours of instruction and training, 30 hours worth of return-demonstration lab coursework, and a minimum of 10 hours of hands-on clinical skills practicum at a healthcare facility under the direct supervision of a state-licensed RN instructor.

The medication aide training program is comprised of focused schooling in the following topics: basic review of bodily systems and the effects of various medications on these systems; medical terminology; principles of infection control; and drug classifications. All certified medication aide lessons at Legacy Healthcare Careers CNA School will be taught by experienced registered nurse (RN) instructors.

Graduates of certified medication aide training programs in Texas must take and pass the written medication aide examination, which contains 100 multiple-choice questions that assess the test taker’s knowledge base regarding safe, accurate, prudent medication therapy (Texas Health and Human Services, n.d.).

Once the medication aide examination is passed, the candidate receives a practice permit as a certified medication aide (CMA). The CMA practice permit enables the nurse aide to secure employment as a certified medication aide at nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, extended care facilities, intermediate care facilities, correctional facilities, assisted living settings and personal care group homes.

For any questions regarding the upcoming certified medication aide program that will be offered at the Legacy Healthcare Careers CNA School campus near Fort Worth, please call (682)626-5266 or telephone the 24-hour hotline at (682)313-6404. The friendly members of staff will answer any questions you may have to the very best of their abilities.

Keep in mind that Legacy Healthcare Careers CNA School also continues to offer affordable, high-quality certified nursing assistant training classes with flexible schedules that enable prospective students to keep their jobs while obtaining occupational nurse aide training. Place a telephone call to (682)626-5266 to enroll in the certified nursing assistant program at Legacy Healthcare Careers.

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RESOURCES

Texas Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Medication Aide Program FAQs. Retrieved from https://hhs.texas.gov/doing-business-hhs/licensing-credentialing-regulation/credentialing/medication-aide-program/medication-aide-program-faqs