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About the Program
Guidelines for Certification
The DDS Medication Administration Certification Program regulations require non-licensed staff to complete four components before they can administer medications.  Each course in this catalog provides a way to complete the first three: instruction in theory, a laboratory practicum, and the written exam.  Once these have been successfully completed, DDS grants certification that the person has attained baseline competency to administer medications.  The fourth required component is completion of an On-Site Practicum (Checklists A & B) by the delegating RN.
Course or Test Registration Procedure
DDS provides course programs (includes the 21-hour classroom program, laboratory practicum, and the certification exam) as well as additional stand-alone exam opportunities for those participants who have participated in their agency-sponsored course or who are in need of an additional test opportunity.
The 21-hour course is limited to 24 participants unless otherwise noted.  The laboratory practicum is limited to the students of the course plus up to an additional 5 participants not to exceed 25 total. The course exam is limited to the course participants plus up to an additional 20 not to exceed 40 participants. The stand-alone exam is limited to 40 participants.
To register participants for any course or exam listed in the catalog, the agency must register each participant via fax using the “fax registration” form included in the catalog appendix. Seat requests or cancellations must be received a minimum of 5 business days in advance of the activity and agencies will receive confirmation of registration via fax within 2 business days.  Agencies may request up to 5 seats per activity with up to one substitution prior to the close of registration.
Attendance Policy
  • Participants must be pre-registered and have received acceptance for the course or exam.
  • Participants must arrive 15 minutes prior to the designated start time.
  • Participants must present a current photo ID at the course and exam.
  • Participants must attend 100% of thecourse.
Participants failing to meet the attendance requirements will not be admitted into the course or exam.  There will be no exceptions.  Please note that sign-in is handled 15 minutes prior to the start of the course or exam – the door closes at start time.

Participant Information
* Participant eligibility:
  • High School diploma or GED
  • No drug-related convictions
  • No Medication Administration Certification may have been revoked in the past
Passing Scores:
Passing score for Laboratory Practicum = 100%
Passing score for written exam = 80%
Passing score for the on-site practicum = 100%

Study Requirements:
Participants may study on their own, form study groups, and/or arrange for tutoring with their
agency registered nurse.

Student Curriculum:
Each participant in every course will be given a student book to keep. The book is designed as a study guide and learning tool to be used throughout the course.

Participants should allow 2 hours for the exam process after the door closes. This allows ample
time for exam instructions, participant questions, and 90 minutes to complete the written exam.
* See DDS regulations for further information.

Guidelines for Initial Medication Administration Certification

Initial Certification Training Program Description
Regulations for this program require four components for medication administration certification: instruction in theory, completion of a laboratory practicum, successful completion of the written certification exam, and completion of the on-site practicum.
Theory Component consists of the following content:
  • medical terminology
  • drug classifications, measurement, and forms
  • intended purpose and effect of medication
  • assessment of drug reaction
  • correct and safe techniques of medication administration
  • prohibited and dangerous techniques
  • documentation including evaluation, reporting, and recording
  • control and storage
  • use of reference texts
  • lines of authority and areas of responsibility for licensed, unlicensed, and other personnel
  • state and federal statutes and regulations
This component must be taught by a registered nurse, pharmacist, or doctor who is licensed pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes and has experience in training persons to administer medications. This person must be an endorsed instructor or an agent of the department.
Laboratory Practicum consists of:
  • demonstration of administration and documentation procedures
  • return demonstration of administration and documentation procedures
  • successful completion of the competency checklist.
This component must be taught by a registered nurse, pharmacist, or doctor who is licensed pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes and has experience in training persons to administer medications. This person must be an endorsed instructor or an agent of the department.

Certification Exam consists of:
  • 100 multiple choice or true and false questions on information listed above.
  • criteria for passing is 80% or better.
Only DDS or its designee will provide the written exam.

On-site practicum consists of:
  • instruction in agency, site and individual-specific requirements related to medication administration (Checklist A)
  • demonstration of administration and documentation procedures (Checklist B)
This component must be completed by a registered nurse that is licensed pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes and is the supervising nurse assigned to the employee’s work site.

Options for Completing Initial Certification Requirements

Theory Component

To complete the theory component one must pass a laboratory practicum and written exam. There are 3 options to prepare for the exam:

Option A: attend the department-approved 21-hour course given by the department or its agent. This option is available at no cost to your agency. Staff choosing Option A must attend 100% of the course and may not miss any unit of the curriculum.

Option B: a provider agency may have their registered nurse, pharmacist, or doctor become "endorsed" to teach the DDS-approved 21-hour course. DDS will supply the curriculum, student workbooks, and instructor materials to train and certify priority personnel.

Option C: employees who have previous experience and knowledge may be able to waive the classroom theory instruction and enter the exam directly. This is referred to as "testing in"*. An employee can test in, if the agency executive director or regional director and the supervising nurse, in consultation with the residential supervisor, believes the person has sufficient knowledge of the theory to pass the exam. The following criteria should be considered:
  • Content of previous training: did the previous training address all the areas described in the regulations?
  • time elapsed since the previous training: did the training occur a long time ago or recently?
  • nature of the experience: how many medications has the person had experience
    administering and to how many people?
  • length of experience: how many years/months has the person been administering
    medications? How long ago was the person's experience?
  • formal educational experience, work history, and comfort with testing.
A letter of recommendation must accompany the registration packet. Using the above criteria, the agency executive director or regional director must identify in what ways does a staff person using option C meet the criteria. Any registration packet submitted without the letter of recommendation or any staff person not meeting the Option C requirements will be denied certification until all appropriate requirements have been met.

* It is strongly advised that the employee study, be tutored, or receive a refresher course prior to taking the exam through Option C.
Laboratory Practicum

Option A: same as above. The instructor will do the lab practicum along with the theory component.
Option B: same as above. The endorsed instructor will do the lab practicum along with the theory component.
Option C: an employee who "tests in" must also complete the laboratory practicum prior to taking the exam.  There are two options for doing this:
(1) labs offered through DDS or its agent.
(2) an endorsed instructor can teach the lab.
On-site Practicum

All persons enrolled in the certification training program must complete an on-site practicum. This component must be done by the provider agency's registered nurse (referred to as the supervising nurse in the regulations) that, per regulation, must supervise the unlicensed, certified employee on an on-going basis.

Testing Guidelines
1. People participating in the 21-hour department approved program through Option A or Option B will:
a) Complete the 21-hour classroom-training program, successfully complete the laboratory practicum and take the exam
b) If the person fails, he or she may retest. Options to prepare for the retest are:
  • repeat the 21-hour program
  • refresher class
  • tutorial assistance by agency nurse
  • self study
This decision must be made cooperatively, on a case-by-case basis, with the employee and the appropriate agency personnel (R.N., residential supervisor, and administrator) or according to the agency policy.

c) If the person fails the second attempt, they may retest one more time. Options to prepare for this third test are the same as above.
d) If the person fails on the 3rd attempt, he or she begins the process again for one additional attempt not to exceed a total of four attempts under the 80% passing program.
    Note: Passing lab and exam grade are valid for 6 months of the passing date.
2. People participating in Option C (test in) will:

a) Take the laboratory practicum and test without completing the DDS-approved 21-hour program
b) If the person fails the test in, they may retest one time. Options to prepare for the retest are:
  • refresher class
  • tutorial assistance by agency nurse
  • self study
c) If the person fails the second attempt, he or she must take the DDS-approved 21-hour program through Option A or B. A total of four exam attempts are allowed under the 80% passing program.

   Note: Passing lab and exam grade are valid for 6 months of the passing date.
3. Initial certification exam may only be administered by DDS or its authorized designee. People must register with the DDS regional medication administration coordinator at least five days in advance of course or test dates. Anyone who is not registered in advance will be turned away. There will be no exceptions.

4. People must present photo identification when arriving to the exam. Anyone without photo ID will be turned away. There will be no exceptions.

5. People must arrive at least 15 minutes in advance of the testing time to sign in and receive instructions.  Anyone who arrives after the start will be turned away. There will be no exceptions.

6. The state medication administration coordinator will send test scores, via fax or e-mail to each agency contact person within 10 business days from date of exam.

7. Staff are limited to 4 exams. A waiver is required before a staff person may take the exam more than 4 times and this must be approved in advance by DDS central office. Agencies should verify staff’s testing history through central office and must submit waiver requests in writing via US mail, fax, or e-mail to DDS central office.
Process Overview
1. Each employer determines eligibility of its employees (see regulations and registration form)
  • High school diploma: if an employee does not have a high school diploma or its equivalent, the executive director (private) or regional director (public) or agency designee may recommend participation if he or she believes the employee has the ability to perform the duties required to administer medications. This may be done by signing the registration form in the appropriate area.
  • Drug related conviction: if a person has been convicted of a crime involving the manufacture, sale, dispensing, possession, or possession with the intent to sell any controlled substance, the agency director may recommend that the employee participate in the program after reviewing pertinent information described in the DDS Directive 91-1. A model letter has been developed and is attached.
  • Revocation of medication administration certificate: if a person has had their certificate revoked and wishes to become certified after further training has occurred, a letter from the executive director (private agency) or regional or personnel director (DDS) must be attached to the registration form.  The letter must document the administrative decision to recommend the person despite the
    previous revocation.
2. Each agency determines which eligible employees will participate in the program.

3. Each agency, with its employee, decides through which option the employee will participate, and registers the employee with the DDS regional coordinator.
  • Option A DDS authorized designee
    • agency must register all employees with the regional coordinator in advance of the course.
      Upon completion of the course, the lab practicum and test score will be sent to theregion coordinator.
  • Option B (DDS-approved 21-hour endorsed instructor course)
    • endorsed instructor contacts the DDS regional coordinator to get participant
      handbooks and lab practicum supply list
    • upon completion of the theory training and the laboratory practicum register
      employees for the exam through DDS regional coordinator
  • Option C (refresher class or self study)
    • agency schedules the lab practicum with an endorsed instructor or through the DDS regional coordinator.
    • agency registers employees for exam through DDS regional coordinator.
4. DDS state coordinator notifies agency contact person of test results and forwards all paperwork to agency.

5. Agency sends completed registration form and lab practicum form to central office coordinator.

6. Central office coordinator reviews paperwork, issues certificate, logs information in computer, and files paperwork. For private provider employees, certificates will be sent to the director of the agency or their designee. For DDS employees, the certificate will be sent to the regional coordinator.

7. Agency delegating RN completes onsite practicum and determines whether to delegate the responsibility to administer medication

8. DDS regional coordinator maintains a list of DDS certified employees for the region.

9. In addition, each agency may have other procedures such as:
  • maintaining copies of paperwork
  • making copies of the cards before they are sent to the employees
  • maintaining their own data collection system.
10. Agencies are strongly encouraged to verify training and certification history of new employees or med admin history of long-term employee.