Lawmakers debate allowing non-nurses to administer medication - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Lawmakers debate allowing non-nurses to administer medication


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVVA) People who are not doctors or even nurses could soon be dispensing medicine in nursing homes. The move is part of legislation moving forward in West Virginia's Capitol to allow the long-term facilities to instead hire people with one year of training to do the work. 

The legislation passed in the House of Delegates on Tuesday, but not without reservations from some lawmakers. 

"I did receive a lot of feedback from local nurses that were in that weighed heavily in my decision to vote against the bill," said Del. Jeff Pack, (R) 28th Dist. 

In a state where nurses are in short-supply, the bill would allow a medical professional called an Approved Medication Assistive Personnel (AMAP) to deliver the medicine. 

"The RN is the supervisor. It's a team approach," explained Del. Joe Ellington, (R) Mercer, 27th Dist. 

During the floor debate Tuesday, lawmakers said half of U.S. states currently allow AMAPs to administer medication, but the other half does not. 

"Nurses that have had pharmacology classes should be the ones administering the medication," said Del. Ed Evans, (D) McDowell. "There's a huge difference between a CNA and a registered nurse." 

The debate will likely play out again as legislation is considered in the Senate, where lawmakers are divided on how to address a growing nursing shortage in a state where prescription pill abuse is rampant. 

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