Working under the direct supervision of licensed registered nurses or physicians, medication aides administer drugs to patients in professional settings, like nursing homes or correctional facilities. In general, subjects covered in a medication aide program are not presented as individual courses, but as topics studied on a week-to-week basis. Completion of one of these multi-hour programs, which cover pharmaceutical and scientific topics relating to the field, is generally required to qualify for state licensure or registration as a medication aide. Although some coursework can be completed online, most medication aide programs are hybrid in nature since they require a significant amount of laboratory work. Most students pursuing careers as medication aides are high school graduates who already are certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and nurse assisting.
Online Medication Aide Courses
The following descriptions detail the common topics covered in online medication aide courses.
- The Role of a Medication Aide: Students learn about the duties in the typical medication aide's work day, including giving patients medicine and/or treatments required by physicians' orders. In addition, students are educated about how to keep track of dosage, side effects and the time medicine was administered to the patient through detailed record keeping.
- Identification of Drugs: Prospective medication aides become familiar with common drugs through this topic of study, which usually comes toward the beginning of a medication aide course. Students learn the uses of specific medications and the side effects they could have on patients.
- Preparation of Medicines: Typically offered early in a medication aide curriculum, this subject prepares students in appropriate methods of administering drugs to patients. Future medication aides learn to allocate proper dosages and utilize any equipment necessary to give therapeutic substances to patients.
- Infection Control: This topic covers proper prevention of infection before and after the administration of drugs. Distance education students receive instruction on sterilization techniques for instruments used to administer medication and for injection sites. This subject is usually studied in the middle stages of a program for aspiring medication aides.
- Assessing Vital Signs: Typically covered toward the end of an online medication aide course, this portion of study teaches students to monitor the physical condition of a patient who has ingested medication. They learn to measure and evaluate critical statistics like blood pressure, heart rate and respiration.