Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs
What type of drug should you prescribe based on your patient’s diagnosis? How much of the drug should the patient receive? How often should the drug be administered? When should the drug not be prescribed? Are there individual patient factors that could create complications when taking the drug? Should you be prescribing drugs to this patient? How might different state regulations affect the prescribing of this drug to this patient?
These are some of the questions you might consider when selecting a treatment plan for a patient.
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As an advanced practice nurse prescribing drugs, you are held accountable for people’s lives every day. Patients and their families will often place trust in you because of your position. With this trust comes power and responsibility, as well as an ethical and legal obligation to “do no harm.” It is important that you are aware of current professional, legal, and ethical standards for advanced practice nurses with prescriptive authority. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the treatment plans and administration/prescribing of drugs is in accordance with the regulations of the state in which you practice. Understanding how these regulations may affect the prescribing of certain drugs in different states may have a significant impact on your patient’s treatment plan. In this Assignment, you explore ethical and legal implications of scenarios and consider how to appropriately respond.
Review the Resources for this module and consider the legal and ethical implications of prescribing prescription drugs, disclosure, and nondisclosure.
Review the scenario assigned by your Instructor for this Assignment.
Search specific laws and standards for prescribing prescription drugs and for addressing medication errors for your state or region, and reflect on these as you review the scenario assigned by your Instructor.
Consider the ethical and legal implications of the scenario for all stakeholders involved, such as the prescriber, pharmacist, patient, and patient’s family.
Think about two strategies that you, as an advanced practice nurse, would use to guide your ethically and legally responsible decision-making in this scenario, including whether you would disclose any medication errors.
By Day 7 of Week 1
Write a 2- to 3-page paper that addresses the following:
Explain the ethical and legal implications of the scenario you selected on all stakeholders involved, such as the prescriber, pharmacist, patient, and patient’s family.
Describe strategies to address disclosure and nondisclosure as identified in the scenario you selected. Be sure to reference laws specific to your state.
Explain two strategies that you, as an advanced practice nurse, would use to guide your decision making in this scenario, including whether you would disclose your error. Be sure to justify your explanation.
Explain the process of writing prescriptions, including strategies to minimize medication errors.
As a nurse practitioner, you prescribe medications for your patients. You make an error when prescribing medication to a 5-year-old patient. Rather than dosing him appropriately, you prescribe a dose suitable for an adult.
A friend calls and asks you to prescribe a medication for her. You have this autonomy, but you don’t have your friend’s medical history. You write the prescription anyway.
You see another nurse practitioner writing a prescription for her husband who is not a patient of the nurse practitioner. The prescription is for a narcotic. You can’t decide whether or not to report the incident.
During your lunch break at the hospital, you read a journal article on pharmacoeconomics. You think of a couple of patients who have recently mentioned their financial difficulties. You wonder if some of the expensive drugs you have prescribed are sufficiently managing the patients’ health conditions and improving their quality of life.
Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs
Principles of Ethics and Law
A medication error scenario raises important ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, disclosure and informed consent that guide medical practice. Legally, practitioners have a duty of care to patients (Mars, 2014).
Disclosing the Error
Disclosing errors is critical to ensure patient safety and prevent adverse outcomes. The nurse should apologize, explain steps taken to address the issue, and rebuild trust. This upholds fiduciary duties while minimizing liability under tort law (Lerman et al., 2020).
Guiding Decision Making
A confidential peer review examining all factors can provide guidance on resolving the issue and improving patient care. Disclosing promptly also allows the hospital to take urgent precautions. Seeking clarification from other practitioners ensures complete understanding of the prescription (Shapiro & Galowitz, 2016).
Writing Prescriptions Safely
To minimize errors, nurses should double check all information, watch for look-alike drugs, and clarify any uncertainties with the prescribing physician before administering medication to the correct patient. This reduces prescription mistakes and their harmful impacts (Barclay, 2017).
In summary, applying principles of ethics, law and quality improvement processes can help address medication errors, ensure patient well-being, and mitigate risks for all involved. Proper protocols are important for sound medical care. Please let me know if you need any part of the paper explained further.
Barclay, K. M. (2017). Mistake proofing laboratory monitoring for alemtuzumab treated patients with multiple sclerosis (Doctoral dissertation, University of British Columbia). research essay help
Lerman, L. G., Schrag, P. G., & Rubinson, R. (2020). Ethical problems in the practice of law. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.
Mars, J. A. S. (2014). Ethics in Nursing Administration. Financial Management for Nurse Managers, 325.
Shapiro, J., & Galowitz, P. (2016). Peer support for clinicians: a programmatic approach. Academic Medicine, 91(9), 1200-1204.