Personal Support Worker Administering Meds
Article #19 in our series. Not a call to arms but fair warning on how employers ‘train’ PSW’s to administer medications
Employment Market Tightens
Personal Support Workers administering medications in Ontario is certainly a slippery slope. With ‘fuzzy’ at best laws in this unregulated industry, the best protection method is to understand how the system works.
For a newly trained PSW just out of school administering meds is beyond the basic scope of practice. Employers will try to get around this by ‘training’ employees. While some will adequately train employees, others will simply pop in a VHS tape, let it play for an hour and then administer a simple multiple choice test. Presto, the employee is now ‘trained’ to administer medication to clients.
Employers are getting pretty brazen. Below is a screen capture of an actual job listing where the employer lists ‘administer medications’ within job descriptions. Keep in mind this job ad came from the official governmental site the Canadian Job Bank (via psw jobs)
In a perfect world medications would be administered by RPN’s & RN’s (registered nurses). Ideally this is how the system is supposed to work. The PSW should gather ideas and supplies and the RN should mix and administer the meds. Of course today’s medical profession is far from ideal. If presented with a choice employers would rather pay the cheaper wage of a PSW vs RN.
This isn’t meant to be a call to arms or anything of the like. Administering meds is serious business. If you don’t understand a part of the process point this out to co-workers or bosses. This is a far better option than risking the health of a patient, which can carry the obvious medical risks for the patient and possible risks for your career.