Medication Administration

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You are an LPN working in a long-term care facility. Each shift you administer medications to 28 residents. During the morning medication administration round you notice a new medication on a resident's MAR. You are unfamiliar with it. What is your best course of action?

A: Stop preparing the new medication and refuse to administer the new medication because you are not familiar with it. Leave the new medication for the next shift.

That’s not correct. LPNs adhere to the ‘rights’ of medication administration. These include: Right Medication, Right Client, Right Dose, Right Time, Right Route, Right Reason and Right Documentation. LPNs understand how medication errors and near misses can occur and take steps to prevent them. See Principles 3 and 11 respectively in the Medication Administration Practice Standard.

B: Consult with the RN to clarify the new medication, then look up the medication in a facility-recognized drug guide following the completion of the morning medication administration round.

That’s not correct. LPNs determine all orders for an individual are clear, complete, current, legible and appropriate for the client before administering any medication. See Principle 4 in the Medication Administration Practice Standard.

C: Look up the new medication in a facility-recognized drug guide before administering it. If you still have concerns, discuss the medication with the RN or contact the dispensing pharmacist.

Correct! LPNs are responsible for administering medications within CLPNBC's scope of practice and individual competence. See Principle 1 in the Medication Administration Practice Standard.

D: Administer the new medication. After administration, look up the new medication in a facility-recognized drug guide and call the pharmacist to discuss possible interactions with current medications.

That’s not correct. Before administering any medication, LPNs are knowledgeable about the effects, side effects and interactions and take action as necessary. See Principle 2 in the Medication Administration Practice Standard.

Read CLPNBC's Scope of Practice for Licensed Practical Nurses to ensure you understand the standards, limits and conditions under which LPNs may administer medications. Be aware that your agency's policies may place further controls on medication administration than the Nurses (Licensed Practical) Regulation and CLPNBC standards, limits and conditions allow. Employers are responsible for providing the organizational supports and systems necessary for safe medication administration by LPNs, including medication reconciliation and reporting of medication incidents and near misses. See Medication Administration Practice Standard.