Question for the network about School Trips and Student Medication

  • 4 April 2019


Every so often, we have requests from School Nurses who are after advice... This week the question is about School Trips Abroad:


Hi there, ...we have a school trip to the USA in a couple of weeks and we were wondering how other nurses manage students medications on trips abroad. Does the teacher take responsibility or does the student??? Students will be over 16yrs and will carry their own meds through customs but should they then hand them to the teacher to allocate or does it depend on individual student needs and meds???

Any help gratefully received! 


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  • caroline taylor
  • 4 Apr 2019
  • 11:53 pm

As these young people are all over 16 years old & trusted to carry their own medications through customs & be part of an overseas trip, I really don’t see why a teacher needs to be responsible for them taking the medications, surely these teenagers know what & when they should be self administering their own medications, I’m sure their parents would expect that of them st home. There is less risk of a medication going missing or a dose being missed, the young people can even put an alert in their own phones & take responsibility for their own health. It’s not as if there is a Registered Nurse with them. We need to be up skilling our youth to take responsibility for their own health. I hope this comment is helpful.

  • Karen
  • 5 Apr 2019
  • 8:11 am

My thoughts would be: I think the students in the group need to be considered, the medications being taken and risk assessments done. If students keep own medication, this needs to be down as a hazard on the risk assessment form teachers need to fill out, and action of how it will be managed. Parents need to fill out a form for EOTC trips, if their child is receiving medication and say what it is and when they are to have it and also answer if they are happy for the student to independantly administer. The nature of the medication needs to be looked at Controlled drugs eg. Ritalin Quantities kept on students and the potential access other students might have to the medication. Schools need to balance independence with safety and I think a risk assessment of all students on trip also needs to be considered. It also depends on where students staying - if they are in individual homes with host families/sharing etc. I think teachers in charge of a trip - would need to think about if another student got hold of medication and OD’d.Or the medication got into the wrong hands. Boards have a duty of care to keep students safe whilst away. Obviously medications such as Ventolin and Epipens are best kept with students who require them, preferably in a bumbag.

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