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Preparedness for practice, Oral medication administration, Students' perceptions, Nurse education, Quantitative pilot study



  1. Cleary-Holdforth, Joanne MSc, PG Dip, BSc, RM, RGN
  2. Leufer, Therese Ed(Bris), MA HEd(FHEA), PG Dip HEd, PG Cert(ImpSci), BSc, RNT, RGN


In health care, it is crucial to ensure that new nurse graduates are equipped to deliver care that is safe, of high quality, patient-centered, and based on the best available evidence. Medication management encompasses many responsibilities and consumes a significant portion of a nurse's working day and is a substantial concern for students approaching the latter stages of their undergraduate education. The theoretical content on this area, as well as exposure to/hands-on experience in practice, can vary from program to program. It is nonetheless imperative to ensure that students feel adequately prepared and confident to undertake this responsibility. A recurring stressor reported anecdotally by student nurses within the authors' faculty is the area of medication administration and management and whether they feel ready for this responsibility. Listening to what students have to say in this regard should be one of the key drivers to shaping how best to prepare them. This article describes a pilot study of final-year students' self-reported level of readiness for oral medication administration in advance of becoming licensed registered nurses.


Methods: A non-experimental, descriptive pilot study was undertaken to ascertain perceptions of student preparedness for practice with regard to oral medication administration. A convenience sample of 24 final-year students undertaking a 4-year BSc (honors) in general nursing program in the Republic of Ireland was involved. Participation involved completion of a 17-item survey. The tool, "Preparedness for Oral Medication Administration Questionnaire," adapted by Aggar and Dawson (Nurse Educ Today 2014;34(6):899-903), originated from a 13-item competency-based assessment tool developed by Fisher and Parolin (Collegian 2000;7(3):21-27) to measure student nurses' clinical performance.


Results: From a sampling frame of 87 students, 24 students completed the survey, yielding a response rate of 28%. The total scale score produced in this sample was 63.3 (+/-13.1) out of a range of 17 to 102, Higher scores indicate greater perceived levels of preparedness for oral medication administration. This score (63.3) suggests that participants generally perceived that they are not as adequately prepared for their role in the administration of oral medication as they perceive they would need to be. Individual item means ranged from 2.58 (+/-1.1) to 4.71 (+/-.86).


Conclusion: This pilot study revealed that students did not feel adequately prepared for their role in oral medication administration. Key contributors to this were pharmacology knowledge acquisition and application, along with lack of opportunities in practice to undertake oral medication administration roles and responsibilities. A streamlined approach to address these challenges involving nurse educators, clinical preceptors, and, most importantly students, is paramount. Despite the small scale of this single-site study, it did provide useful insight into students' perceptions of their readiness for oral medication administration and factors influencing this.