Supporting medication administration

Supporting medication administration may not be part of your role, but if it is, it is important that you have been trained to do it and understand each step of the process. We will not go through the process here, as you should have been trained and assessed as competent before the task of medicine administration has been delegated to you by a registered member of staff (you can freshen up by accessing the Skills for Health standard CHS2 Assist in the administration of medication).

What we would like to emphasise is:

  • your responsibility and accountability to ensure that each medication you administer is the right drug, for the right patient, given in the right dose and right preparation at the right time (you should check back to the section on Accountability, which applies as much here as to any other aspect of your practice)
  • the importance of considering patient safety – medication errors sadly do happen and  place patients at risk, sometimes seriously; safe administration of medicines is not only an important clinical issue, but is also important as a patient safety and safeguarding issue
  • the need to have basic numeracy skills – calculating and checking medication dosages is an important part of administration, and your ability to do simple arithmetic needs to be up to scratch: if you didn’t take a look at the quick refresher course at the UnionLearn website or the resources on the National Numeracy Challenge website when you worked through the Personal development planning section, you should do so now if you have any doubts about your maths
  • you must remember that you will require the patient’s consent for each medication you administer – check back to the section on Consent and ensure you are up to speed with what gaining consent involves.

Prescribing medication can only be done by registered practitioners with an appropriate qualification. As a health care assistant,  you must not be put into a position where you have to make a judgement about a medication, such as whether it is appropriate to give it when a person’s condition has changed. You must always refer back to the registered nurse or prescriber if you have any concerns whatsoever, and should only take on any role around the administration of medicines if you are trained, competent and confident to do so within your organisation’s policies.