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Administration of Medications at School - January 2007 Revision

Notice: This policy was reviewed, revised, and/or renamed. We provide this revision for historic purposes only. Please see our current policies and procedural directives.

This procedural directive was reviewed and revised in October 2010. We provide this revision for historic purposes only.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on School Health states that children are often able to attend regular school programs as the result of the effectiveness of medication in the treatment of illnesses and chronic disabilities. It has also been proven that students who are able to be medicated at school attain more regular attendance and increase their ability to achieve their optimum educational and social potential.


A medication is any substance that is ingested, injected, inhaled, or used topically in the diagnosis, treatment and/or the prevention of disease. This includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter and non-prescription drugs. Medications may be authorized by health care providers who are licensed by the state of New Mexico to prescribe drugs. Medication authorizations are acceptable from licensed Medical doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Osteopathic Physicians and Physician’s Assistants.

Therefore, the following procedures will be followed when it is absolutely necessary for a student to take medication during school hours.

Procedure for Administration of Medications at School

  • The physicians and the parent/guardian will submit written authorization for the medication to be given during school hours. The information provided in the written authorization should match the labeling information on the medication container. This will help ensure that the medication actually being taken is consistent with that authorized.
  • The parent/guardian and physician will submit written consent for a student to self-administer his/her own medication with or without supervision. A licensed school nurse will administer medication to those students who are unable to administer their own medication.
  • An APS employee will NOT assist with medication administration without a completed "Authorization to Administer Medication" form. If a request to administer medication is sent to school without such authorization the following must be done:
    1. The licensed school nurse will be notified immediately of the situation.
    2. If licensed school nurse is unavailable, call the Nursing Department for assistance.
    3. Only a licensed school nurse may telephone the physician for a (temporary) verbal medication order.
      1. Such verbal authorizations are valid for 5 days.
      2. The nurse requests that the doctor send a written authorization to the school.
    4. The parent/guardian may come to school and give medication until a verbal or written authorization can be secured by the licensed school nurse.
  • In life-threatening emergency situations such as an anaphylactic episode, severe asthma reaction or a diabetic reaction, a non-medically licensed school employee may administer oral, inhalation or parenteral (injectable) medication to the student. This person will be trained by a licensed school nurse. A signed Parental Indemnity Agreement document will requested from the parent/guardian.
  • Non-medically licensed school employees will be trained to follow a specific procedure for assisted self-administration of medication that ensures students receive their prescribed medication in a safe and timely manner. This training will be provided by the licensed school nurse.
  • Students will be carefully instructed on how to take their medication at school. The method and plan of administration will be a coordinated effort between the student, parent/guardian, licensed school nurse and other school employees who will assist and supervise in the self-administration of the medication.
  • Each student will be required to have each medication in a pharmacy labeled container. NOTE: The pharmacy label does not serve as a physician’s authorization. The information provided on the written authorization must match the pharmacy label.
  • Medication will be stored within a locked medication cabinet in the health office. Exceptions to this rule will be noted on the medication authorization form and the Health Management Plan and will pertain to medication that must be stored in a refrigerator or those carried by students.
  • The Nursing Department will determine the procedure for recording the time, and date the medication was given and for monitoring beneficial and/or adverse effects of the medication. This procedure will be followed at each school.
  • Single dose over-the-counter (OTC) or non-prescription drugs may be carried and self-administered by the student. For this to be permitted the following information must be provided:
  1. Written or verbal consent by the parent/guardian, the non-prescription drug name, the dosage and time of administration.
  2. Adherence to ‘standing orders for over-the-counter medications’ in the New Mexico State School Health Manual.
  • When a student is not competent to carry and administer over-the-counter or non-prescription drugs, a licensed school nurse will be requested to administer the medication according to the physician’s instruction.
  • A secondary student may be permitted to carry a single dose of a short term prescription medication (excluding medication classified as a controlled substance). The medication must be carried in a pharmacy labeled container. Written permission of the parent/guardian must be filed in the health office.
  • An APS employee will NOT send home with a student any excess medication which is classified as a controlled substance.
  • An Individualized Healthcare Plan will be written, by the licensed school nurse if medication is to be given for longer than 10 school days. A copy will be filed with the health record in the cumulative folder, in the medication book, given and discussed with the parent and the appropriate school staff.
  • The site principal is responsible to provide the equipment and materials necessary for the safe administration and documentation of these procedures.
  • All directives and guidelines will be followed as stated in the APS Nursing Department Medication Procedure.
  • Cross Ref.: APS Authorization to Administer Medication form

    Student Accident Form

     NSBA/NEPN Classification: JLCD

    Revised: May 1995
    Revised: April 1996
    Revised: May 1997

    This procedural directive was reviewed and revised in October 2010. We provide this revision for historic purposes only.