Family perceptions of medication administration at school: errors, risk factors, and consequences

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

J Sch Nurs

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of school nursing

PubMed ID


DOI of Published Version


Start Page


End Page



Medications are administered every day in schools across the country. Researchers and clinicians have studied school nurses' and educators' experiences with medication administration, but not the experiences of children or their parents. This study examined medication administration from the child and parent perspectives to (a) determine problems children experience with medicines at school, (b) clarify risk factors for medication errors, and (c) examine the perceived impact of medication errors on school performance and social relationships. Participants included children ages 8 to 18 years (n=157) being treated at a large Midwestern Children's Hospital in diabetes, asthma, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) clinics. Findings suggest that forgetting a dose and running out of medication were the most common problems. Missing a dose was more frequent in students with ADHD than in students with diabetes or asthma. Medication nonadherence at school, which includes medication administration errors such as missing a dose, may potentially lead to a variety of educational, social/emotional, and physical consequences. These results indicate that the impact of missing medication on children with ADHD appeared to have a greater effect on schoolwork and friendships, while the physical consequences appeared to vary widely based on health condition. Interestingly, children with more self-responsibility for medications were less likely to report medication errors. School nurses will want to include students when planning for medication management at school.


Adolescent, Adolescent Psychology, Asthma/drug therapy/psychology, Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity/drug therapy/psychology, Child, Child Psychology, Diabetes Mellitus/drug therapy/psychology, Female, Humans, Male, Medication Errors/adverse effects/nursing/psychology, Midwestern United States, Nursing Methodology Research, Parents/psychology, Questionnaires, Risk Factors, School Nursing/organization & administration, Self Administration/adverse effects/nursing/psychology, Students/psychology, Treatment Refusal/psychology

Published Article/Book Citation

The Journal of school nursing, 24:2 (2008) pp.95-102.

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