Medication Policy Puts Children First
By Barbara Fish

December 17, 2004

Imagine giving your child the wrong medication. It can happen and unfortunately, it does. Recently, a foster parent in Raleigh County sent her child to school with a written prescription and a bottle of pills. As part of its implementation of the new West Virginia Board of Education medication policy, Raleigh County requires a prescription for every medication brought to school. The school nurse immediately noticed the written prescription didnít match the medication the parent sent. Luckily, the mistake was caught and the child was not harmed thanks to an alert school nurse following the new Board policy.  

It is obvious to me that Policy 2422.8 Medication Administration is not just another regulation sent down from the state level demanding implementation by county schools systems. This policy is about the safety of our children.  

The Medication Administration Policy is a compromise. It allows secretaries and others who take online training to give over-the-counter drugs. As a result, school nurses now have more time to focus on other vital job responsibilities. The policy also allows all students with potentially life-threatening conditions to carry and take emergency drugs with a doctorís prescription and parental permission. In addition, the policy gives high school students permission to carry over-the-counter medication with parental permission on file. However, students in k-8 still have to obtain medication from trained staff members.  

The state Board has provided reasonable guidelines to local boards and trusts individual counties will implement these standards with input from the local community. I commend every county that has taken this policy to heart. A recent survey conducted by the West Virginia Department of Education indicates that all 55 counties have a policy or guidelines in place to administer medications in the school setting. Within the past year, 44 of the 55 counties have amended their medication policies. Eighty-four percent of counties currently function under medication polices that require a prescription for all medication dispensed by school personnel while 16 percent of counties function under medication polices that do not require prescriptions.  

Despite some misinformation that has been reported, Policy 2422 is being embraced by a majority of the school systems and the stateís nursing community. But perhaps most importantly, Policy 2422 can prevent the wrong medication being given to a child. A Raleigh County family knows that first hand.  

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