Medication administration practices of school nurses

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

J Sch Health

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of school health

PubMed ID



This study assessed the medication administration practices of school nurses. From a random sample of 1,000 members of the National Association of School Nurses, 649 (64.9%) completed the survey developed for the study. These school nurses report that during a typical day, 5.6% of children receive medication in school, with 3.3% receiving medications for ADHD. Almost all the school nurses follow written guidelines for administering medication. Potential problems were identified in documenting side effects of medications, storage of medications, student self-administration practices, and appropriate authorization of nonprescription drug use. Most nurses (75.6%) delegate medication administration to unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP), with secretaries (66.2%) the most common UAP. Discomfort with delegation and confusion over state nurse practice laws were noted. Errors in administering medications were reported by 48.5% of the school nurses, with missed dose (79.7%) the most common error. Factors identified as contributing to errors included use of UAP and responsibility for large numbers of students.


Adolescent, Child, Drug Administration Schedule, Drug Therapy, Female, Health Care Surveys, Humans, Male, Medication Errors/statistics & numerical data, Medication Systems, Physician's Practice Patterns, Practice Guidelines as Topic, School Nursing/organization & administration, United States

Published Article/Book Citation

The Journal of school health, 70:9 (2000) pp.371-376.

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