School office staff and medication(39 Posts)
I am here a lot, but namechanged as my other posts may make this child identifiable - have changed some details to try and avoid that.
I work in a school office. The school's policy is that we will administer prescription medications in line with the prescription and with a form signed by the parent. Generally speaking I am fine with this - it is usually Ibroprofen, allergy meds or antibiotics to be taken either as and when needed to a max of x doses a day, or at a certain time each day for a defined period. The instructions are recorded, the children usually remember to come and get them at the allotted time (junior school) and if they don't I go and find them. Once they've taken them I sign the book, so everyone who needs to know knows they've had them.
If (hasn't happened yet) I forget one, as a one off, it wouldn't be the end of the world in these circs.
However, we have a seriously ill girl at school from this term and she has to take a huge amount of vital meds. GOSH sent someone to explain it all to us. I need to make sure she has them 3 times a day, the correct distance from her meals and it really does matter if it's wrong.
I am feeling the weight of this responsibility somewhat and whilst I obviously will do my utmost to get it right, does anyone know what my position would be if I got it wrong? e.g a dose was missed, or insufficient/too much time between doses.
I would be terrified too fwiw.
Is there no way that they could send someone to take care of her in this way? It sounds like it is so energy/time intensive that it will detract from your ability to do a proper job in other areas. I'd have thought a proper 1 to 1 would be better but then I am not au fait with this area of working practice.
Also I'd be terrified if it were my child iyswim.
You sound great but our school managed not to give ds2 his single lunchtime dose of antibiotics two days running - despite signed forms and paperwork and a fridge and everything. No one bothered, and he was 5yo at the time.
I gave up after day 2 and kept him at home.
Wow that is a huge responsibility. My school has a school nurse whose job is to do this sort of thing, but she doesn't do other tasks and she is highly qualified.
I think you need to talk to the Head and s/he should consult the LEA on the correct procedure. Perhaps the parents should sign a form absolving you and the school from responsibility should a dose be messed up, despite your best efforts.
You must be careful not to leave the school or yourself at risk of litigation, plus the little girl needs a high quality of care. A proper system needs to be sorted out.
Exactly, that's what worries me. My job basically means I spend whole days being pulled from pillar to post by people who need something and need it now. It is very easy to see a situation where the defined time slot was missed, if not forgotten all together.
But, apparently, this was never an issue in the infants and the secretary there had no concerns about it at all because she's so efficient....
I don't know what I can do about it though
As my dad pointed out, in a hospital you need to be "qualified" to hand out meds - although I'm prepared to be told he's wrong.
Oh there have been long discussions about what the procedure should be - it should be as it is. The GOSH lady was very happy with our system (the same as it was in the infants)
you do need support from the LEA on this, definitely.
in the meantime, can you work out exactly when she she needs her meds and get your computer (email - outlook can do it) to give you a reminder with enough time to get the girl to the office for them? (or take them to her)
then everything else can be dropped when the reminder goes off.
Yes, good idea nickel, but I'm not always sat at my computer.
The LEA have been involved. They are happy all is in order.
Are you medically trained, have you agreed to take on responsibility
Speak to head and say you cannot in all conscience take responsibility for such an importance medication requirement and they will have to arrange an alternative
Or if you are willing set your phone to alarm a reminder
Junior school is different from infants
I think at the very least you need a backup staff member to take over the responsibility if you are delayed for any reason. Is there a TA in the class who could be responsible for taking the child to get her meds/ locating you if you don't show up at the correct time?
Sorry, I know I'm sounding really negative, but I have tried to sort this out already so have tried most of these suggestions.
Of course I'm not medically trained, what school secretary is?
I haven't agreed to anything. I have been told that my role requires me to take on this responsibility. If I am unable/unwilling to do so, I am unable to fulfil my role (and the poor child does need her meds, someone has to do it)
I have loads of reminders/notes set. I haven't missed any meds any other child needs and have no reason to believe I will miss this one, but I am running around all over school all day. I don't always have my phone with me and I'm not always looking a the PC screen.
Yes, we have that in the morning Natasha, but TAs here don't work afternoons.
I would think there needs to be a backup system in place.
Can the child herself wear a timer watch which goes off 5 mins before she needs her meds? Then she can come to you.
Yes, I could suggest that drink, but TBH I'm not sure how reliable she'd be. So far she has sworn blind twice that "the lady in the office" had given her the afternoon tablets, only we were never able to identify this lady. Also to complicate matters, she (all the children) goes into lunch at a different time each week because we have rotating sittings, so it's not even the same times everyday.
YY to having a timer in the classroom.
It's may be a terrible idea, but...would the other children in the class be allowed to remind the teacher to send the child? I've found that if I need to remember it, telling the class "you must remind me about X at Y time" means there is at least one person who remembers. Obviously it depend how sensitive the information about her medication is. Fwiw, I would be incredibly uncomfortable in your position as well. I don't think anyone in the LEA realises how many different jobs the non-teaching staff spend their days doing.
Make it the teachers or LSA responsibility to bring the child to you at set times
But if you are really unwilling you just have to say you won't be responsible for it
And medical training in the form of first aid training would be sufficient
So what happens in other schools?
This child is very poorly, but her condition is not (sadly) that rare?
What happens when you are ill / on holiday? or there is a fire alarm? I too think there should be a teacher / TA who takes responsibility for reminding too.
That's what the books for daft - so my cover can pick it up and know the instructions. There are a handful of other staff who know what's needed if necessary, but it's my job to make sure it happens when I'm there.
The book and the meds are to be taken with us if there's a fire alarm.
Are you a member of a union OP? If so can you ask them for some advice?
Is it clearly documented and signed for? There should be a 'care plan' in place that has been drawn up by a 'qualified person'.
The question is what happens if it goes wrong? It does not matter how it was managed in the past, that is being used to bully you in to doing it now. If someone does not stand up to what they think is wrong then nothing changes. There should be a policy in place to deal with this.
Document everything and keep it up to date.
You can voice your concerns to your manager/head teacher. If you are not happy with it contact OFSTED and see if they can offer at advice?
Yes, it is all documented and signed for and GOSH set up the careplan.
My question is indeed what happens if it goes wrong? But, if it's me or someone else, someone has to give the child her tablets. What would that person's personal position be if they forgot/got it wrong, was my question?
A policy for dealing with it if it goes wrong? There is a policy for dealing with the administration of the drugs.
If you have signed for and follow the policy then no one can fault you. This is why the care plan is put in place.
It is a responsibility giving someone such meds. But if the care plan is drawn up and reviewed regularly and you follow the protocols then that is following the policy.
Yes, the policy I was referring to is for the admin if drugs.
I understand your concerns.
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