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


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)
JournalJournal of School Nursing
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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