Medication Aides – Nursing Home/Hospice

Unlicensed personnel are required to meet specific requirements to be able to administer medications to Wisconsin nursing home residents and hospice patients.  Listed below is information about medication aide requirements and information for instructors of medication aide programs.

If you have further questions about medication aides in Wisconsin nursing homes and hospices, email Doug Englebert, Pharmacy Consultant, or call 608-266-5388.

Regulations

The following regulations allow unlicensed personnel to administer medications to nursing home residents and hospice patients if they have taken a Department of Health Services approved medication administration program:

Information on this page has been organized into three categories. Please choose one of the following tabs.

Courses and Requirements

For currently approved medication administration programs refer to Approved Nursing Home Medication Aide Courses (PDF, 17 KB)

For detailed information about each program, please contact the individual listings. Each program will have information regarding the times it is offered, the schedule, the cost, and how to enroll.

Individuals who are eligible to take the program and become a medication aide must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Have a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma.
  3. Be current on the State of Wisconsin nurse aide directory.
  4. Be current on the federal nurse aide directory.
  5. Have at least 2000 hours experience in direct patient care within the last 3 years.
  6. Have worked a minimum of 40 hours, within the last 90 days, with the residents to whom the student will be administering medications.
  7. Be recommended in writing by the director of nursing and the administrator of the agency in which the student will be working during the clinical experience.
  8. Be recommended in writing by two licensed charge nurses under whose licenses the aide will be administering medications.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. A nursing home wants to have someone take the medication aide course, but because of past violations, the nursing home has a prohibition on nurse aide training. Can they have nurse aides take the medication aide course?

Answer:

The nursing home cannot have the clinical rotation completed at their site. If the individual nurse aides are attempting to take the course on their own, they should arrange to complete their clinical at another eligible facility. They then must meet the 40–hour working requirement.

A waiver can be requested by the facility. Evaluation Program waiver to prohibition, The facility should send a waiver request to:

Division of Quality Assurance
ATTN: Pharmacy Consultant
P.O. Box 2969
Madison, WI  53701-2969

The waiver request should indicate the citation(s) that led to prohibition and state how those violations do not affect the training of medication aides.  The DQA will issue a decision within 30 days of receiving a complete waiver request.

2. What does a medication aide need to do to maintain status?

 Answer:

Medication Aide must complete 4 hours of in-service and 100 hours of work each calendar year.  If for some reason these requirements have not been met, please contact the DQA pharmacy consultant.

Training Exemptions

Some individuals may have training and experience that may exempt them from medication aide training. Examples of potential exemptions include:

  1. Nursing students.
  2. Graduate nurses who do not hold a license.
  3. Nurse aides who have been medication aides in nursing homes in other states.

Individuals who wish to be a medication aide for nursing homes and may meet a training exemption should review and complete the Challenge Exam Application. Fill out the Application Information and Release section, and mail form to the Divison of Quality Assurance.

If the medication training that was received is equivalent to the medication aide training course, individuals may be exempt from the training course and will be required to take only a written exam. The written exam is 100-150 questions of multiple choice, file in the blank, true/false and matching. The textbook used for the course is "Medication Administration," Donna Gauwitz 7th edition.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can nursing students test out of the medication aide program?

Answer:

Nursing students are not required to test out of the program.  A nursing student can be a medication aide if they are a nurse aide who is currently enrolled in a nursing program and actively taking nursing courses.  “Actively taking nursing courses” means there is no break of more than one year between nursing courses.  This nurse aide must have passed the medication administration course of an accredited school of nursing in order to administer medications in the nursing home. The nursing home must have a record indicating this nurse aide has taken and passed a medication administration course.  If this nurse aide is not actively taking nursing courses, the nurse aide must become a medication aide in order to continue to administer medications in a nursing home.

2. Who is eligible to test out of the program?

Answer:

There is a procedure to apply to test out of the medication aide program for individuals who have had medication administration training in the past. Individuals who wish to test out may use the Challenge Exam Application and send the required materials to the DQA pharmacy consultant.  The pharmacy consultant will review the application and if the person is eligible to test out, a letter will be sent to the student and to the approved medication aide program who will be administering the challenge exam test. The letter the medication aide training program receives will indicate what the individual applicant needs to complete. In all cases, the applicant will need to complete a written final exam.  In some cases, the student may need to complete a lab practicum and/or a clinical rotation. The pharmacy consultant will contact programs prior to sending letters to assure the program is willing to work with an applicant.

3. The Challenge Exam form has a Release section. What am I supposed to put in there?

Answer:

DQA has to confirm previous training with colleges, training programs or other state registries. In order for those entities to confirm your training, they often require a written release to provide that information. Therefore, in the blank sections you should list the name of the registry or school you attended that will need to release information to the DQA.

Instructor Information

For copies of required Medication Aide Instructor forms, email Doug Englebert, Pharmacy Consultant, or call 608-266-5388.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where should the DQA–required medication aide forms be sent?

Answer:

Division of Quality Assurance
ATTN: Pharmacy Consultant
P.O. Box 2969
Madison, WI  53701-2969

2. I have a potential student who does not have 2,000 hours as a nurse aide, can they take the course?

Answer:

In some cases potential students may have extensive experience or had other extenuating circumstances.

If you believe a potential student would be a good candidate but does not have the 2000 hours, please contact the DQA pharmacy consultant to have the student evaluated for eligibility on a case–by–case basis.

3. A nursing home wants to have someone take the medication aide course, but because of past violations, the nursing home has a prohibition on nurse aide training. Can they have nurse aides take the medication aide course?

Answer:

The nursing home cannot have the clinical rotation completed at their site. If the individual nurse aides are attempting to take the course on their own, they should arrange to complete their clinical at another eligible facility.

They then must meet the 40–hour working requirement.

A waiver can be requested. 

4. What types of training and who can train the four hours of annual in-service required to maintain medication aide status?

Answer:

The four–hour in-service requirement shall be specific to medications. That training can be about new or old administration techniques.

The training can also be about new medications or areas where improvement in medication administration is needed. Teacher and documentation requirements are the same as those for the 12 nurse aide in-service hours.

5. If a student or sponsor does not pay but has passed the course, are we required to submit them to the registry?

Answer:

You do not need to submit them to the registry.

6. During clinical does a medication aide student need to complete all skills listed on the skill evaluation list?

Answer:

No. In some facilities, some routes of administration may not be available at the time of the rotation. Medication aide students should complete all routes available or those routes the facility will expect them to complete when working as a medication aide.

Those skills that are not tested shall be left blank on the skill checklist.

If, at a later date, a medication aide will complete routes of administration not completed on the check list, the registered nurse, as part of delegation, shall assure the medication aide is competent in performing.

7. Can nursing students test out of the medication aide program?

Answer:

There is a procedure to apply to test out of the medication aide program for individuals who have had medication administration training in the past. Individuals who wish to test out may use the Challenge Exam Application and send the required materials to the DQA pharmacy consultant. The pharmacy consultant will review the application and if the person is eligible to test out, a letter will be sent to the student and to the approved medication aide program who will be administering the challenge exam test. The letter the medication aide training program receives will indicate what the individual applicant needs to complete. In all cases, the applicant will need to complete a written final exam.  In some cases, the student may need to complete a lab practicum and/or a clinical rotation. The pharmacy consultant will contact programs prior to sending letters to assure the program is willing to work with an applicant.

8. What does a medication aide need to do to maintain status?

Answer:

Medication Aide must complete 4 hours of in service and 100 hours of work each calendar year. 

 

 

 

Last Revised: August 14, 2015