Q: Does Wilderness First Responder (WFR) training provide authorization to administer medications in the field?

Q: Does Wilderness First Responder (WFR) training provide authorization to administer medications in the field? I have my WFR training for my camp job.  My boss told me that because of state law I cannot administer any medications to our clients, not even over-the-counter items like antibacterial cream or ibuprofen.

There is no one set of laws that uniformly governs this kind of activity.  You should get the concepts clear in your mind.  You have been CERTIFIED (trained) to in an expanded scope of practice.  To use those skills in a workplace environment, within the constraints of state law, you need the AUTHORIZATION (approval) of your employer and the permission of you patient.  On the other hand, if you are on your own trip, we (WMA) believe that with the permission of your patient, in a wilderness setting, and after an accurate evaluation, the WFR-level care that you deliver is first aid.  If you have no duty to care and are not compensated, most states would view you as a good Good Samaritan.  We trust that it would be done competently and only to the level of your training.

If you are working for someone, you need to abide by what they recognize as the standard of care.  Do not do something that your employer has expressly forbade you to do.  There are still plenty of other important things that you have been trained to do.

Click here for more information and to check out the articles written by our attorney, Rufus Brown, on this topic.


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