The 40 hour pre-test course reviews and practice tests the following:
- The Career Basics
- Pharmacology – in depth
- Adverse Reactions
- Medication Administration Records (MARs)
- Delegation of Care
- Home Visit Protocol
What is an MA?
A Medication Aide, also referred to as a medical technician, distributes patient medications in nursing homes, schools, correctional facilities or non-hospital assisted-living facilities. Medication aides usually are directly supervised by doctors or other licensed caretakers.
MAs typically assist patients in properly taking oral, topical or intravenous medications in correct dosages and must to strict medical protocol. These professionals also supervise patients to ensure that they do not have any adverse reactions after taking their medications and must keep comprehensive records of all medications that have administered. In many states, a person must pass a certification exam and be licensed by a government agency to work as a medication aide.
The primary knowledge and skill that a medication aide must have involves the proper administering of medication. An MA must know how to administer drugs through various methods, orally, topically, inhalation, intubation, and intravenously. Aides also must know how to administer drops of medicine applied to the eye, ear, and nose.
In some places — by law — or in some facilities, aides are not permitted to administer all types of medicine themselves, for instance, in some areas needle injections may not be done.
Monitoring Vital Signs
An aide measures vital signs: blood pressure, temperature, breath, and heart rates. If the vital signs are abnormal, the aide advises the facility’s nurses or doctors on duty. A medication aide keeps detailed medical records and must note any allergies or other reactions in the record. Medication aides also need to know how to recognize and assess the signs of emergency situations in order to quickly respond.
Knowledge and Experience Requirements
Knowledge of the classifications and side effects of drugs is one of the main requirements of medication aides. They need to know how to differentiate dangerous sedatives and narcotics from more basic daily medications. They also need to know the dangers of combining certain drugs. A medication aide might deal with many potentially addictive substances that require careful monitoring and record-keeping.
Training and Certification
Formal training in medicine and an extensive postgraduate education are not required for a career as a medication aide. The criteria for medication aides differs depending on the location but, generally, a person must be 18 years old and possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. Background includes a knowledge of anatomy, microbiology, and pharmacology. In some areas, aides who work in long-term nursing care facilities often have additional training as nursing assistants. In some areas, MAs may provide injections (such as insulin), do tube feedings and are the charge aides over CNAs. Check with the state nursing board to find out state requirements.