Minnesota Guidelines for Medication Administration in Schools - May 2005
(Updated: September 2005)
For the Coordinated School Health Newsletter - March 2005
New Minnesota Tool for Student Safety
Many children who have chronic and/or acute health conditions can attend school because of the effectiveness of their prescribed medications(s). Student access to medication while at school, to appropriately treat illness, acute or chronic, enhances attendance and reduces a potential barrier to educational success.
The Minnesota Department of Health has released the Minnesota Guidelines for Medication Administration in the Schools. It will be available online March 15 at: www.health.state.mn.us/divs/cfh/shs/pubs/medadmin/
These guidelines were developed collaboratively by the Minnesota Departments of Education, Health, Human Services, the Minnesota Board of Nursing, and a statewide workgroup of multidisciplinary participants. The guidelines outline policies, roles and responsibilities that need to be in place to ensure the safe administration of medications to students in Minnesota schools. It is a tool intended for school districts, school boards, principals, health educators, school nurses, health paraprofessionals, parents, and students themselves.
These guidelines provide the overall framework for the safe administration of prescription and nonprescription medications in our schools. The importance of safety around this issue is evidenced by the fact that such a large and diverse group of parties came together collaboratively to develop and support the steps outlined within the document.
The guidelines themselves have been in the making for several years. At the request of the 2001 Minnesota Legislature, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), in consultation with the Minnesota Board of Nursing, initiated a study related to the promotion of “student health and safety in relation to administering medications in schools and addressing the changing health needs of students.” The resulting “Report to the Minnesota Legislature: Medications Dispensed in Schools Study” was presented to the Minnesota Legislature in January 2002. The first recommendation outlined in the report was that MDH coordinate an effort to design a state system for the safe administration of prescription and nonprescription medications in school. The Minnesota Guidelines for Medication Administration in Schools is the result of this recommendation.
A multifaceted, evidence-supported evaluation process was used to develop the guidelines. Many state agency staff in addition to school, parent and community-based participants throughout Minnesota were involved in an extensive literature review process. The end result was a comprehensive base of literature and key concepts for consideration when writing the guidelines. Related information from other states was also reviewed and considered such as laws related to medications in schools, guidelines for medication administration within schools, and Nurse Practice Act laws.
The basic goal of the Minnesota guidelines is to increase student safety related to medication administration in the school setting. As a result, the guidelines outline as broadly as possible what should be considered system-wide when medications are administered in schools. School districts, school boards, superintendents, principals, health educators, school nurses, health paraprofessionals, parents, and students themselves are all important participants in creating a safe and efficacious framework for the safe administration of medications. Just as creating the guidelines was possible only through such a collaborative and committed process, so too will be the next step of implementing the policies, roles and responsibilities needed for the safe administration. In the end, it’s all about keeping our kids as safe and healthy as possible so they can learn.