Medication Administration Practices in United States’ Schools: A Systematic Review and Meta-synthesis

Ashley A. Lowe, Joe K. Gerald, Conrad Clemens, Cherie Gaither, Lynn B. Gerald

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Schools often provide medication management to children at school, yet, most U.S. schools lack a full-time, licensed nurse. Schools rely heavily on unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP) to perform such tasks. This systematic review examined medication management among K-12 school nurses. Keyword searches in three databases were performed. We included studies that examined: (a) K-12 charter, private/parochial, or public schools, (b) UAPs and licensed nurses, (c) policies and practices for medication management, or (d) nurse delegation laws. Three concepts were synthesized: (a) level of training, (b) nurse delegation, and (c) emergency medications. One-hundred twelve articles were screened. Of these, 37.5% (42/112) were comprehensively reviewed. Eighty-one percent discussed level of training, 69% nurse delegation, and 57% emergency medications. Succinct and consistent policies within and across the United States aimed at increasing access to emergency medications in schools remain necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-34
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of School Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • licensed nurse
  • medication administration
  • medication management
  • school health
  • school nurse
  • unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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