As the baby boom generation ages, nursing residences and other extended care resources will be put to the test in their capacity to provide care. Countless utilize a minimal amount of registered nurses to oversee vocational nurses and nurses’ aides, making it possible for lower-cost personnel to supply regular health care. In some states, specially-trained nurses’ aides called Certified Medication Aides stretch care further, by overseeing periodic prescription medications to individuals.

The Skills

Certified medication aides are actually nurses’ aides to begin with, and have to have a solid understanding of fundamental patient care. As the staff members having probably the most firsthand patient contact, nurses’ aides are in charge of observing and reporting pretty much any change in their patients’ condition. They have to properly understand the legal and ethical limits of their position, which does not enable them to change a patient’s medicines, give injections or initiate intravenous drips. Medication aides must have knowledge of medical and pharmacological terminology, and manage medicines for a large number of patients without making medication dosage errors or providing prescription medications to the wrong patient.

Principal CMA Duties

The medication aide’s responsibility is offering routine daily medicines, either prescription or non-prescription, to patients whose condition and drug routines are stable. The aide has a checklist of patients and prescription medications every day, and must administer medications in the specified dosage at the appropriate time. The aide must make sure that the patient definitely ingests the medications, which can be an issue with defiant patients or those with dementia. A warm and reassuring manner can be beneficial to win the patient’s more than willing compliance. If the medication aide notes a change in the patient’s vital signs or behavior, or any other indication of negative effects from a prescription medication, it must be reported to the charge nurse.

Acting as a CNA

When they’re not actively dispensing prescriptions or preparing medications for the subsequent set of rounds, certified medication aides go back to the roles they share with other certified nurses’ aides. Those incorporate basic hands-on nursing care, such as washing and feeding patients, assisting them with toilet visits and basic hygiene, or supervising their involvement in exercise or physical therapy. When working as a nursing aide, the aide is monitored by practical or registered nurses. Supervision for medication aides must come from the registered nurse serving as charge nurse for that shift.


In the majority of states, medication aides must work initially as certified nurses’ aides or nursing assistants. Some train on the job, but a lot of states require CNAs to graduate from a formal training program lasting up to one year. They’re additionally required to pass a state licensing examination. Not all states allow the use of medication aides, and those that do vary widely in their training qualifications. They can range from as little as four hours’ training to as much as 100 hours. Some states oversee their own licensing examinations. Others recognize a certification exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, which awards the Certified Medication Aide credential.

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