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?

These are some of the questions you might consider when selecting a treatment plan for a patient. As an advanced practice nurse prescribing drugs, you are held accountable for people’s lives on a daily basis. 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. In this Discussion, you explore ethical and legal implications of scenarios and consider how to appropriately respond.

Scenario 1:

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.

Scenario 2:

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.

Scenario 3:

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.

Scenario 4:

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.

To prepare:

  • – Review Chapter 1 of the Arcangelo and Peterson text, as      well as articles from the American Nurses Association, Anderson and      Townsend, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Philipsend and Soeken.
  • – Select one of the four scenarios listed above.
  • – Consider the ethical and legal implications of the      scenario for all stakeholders involved such as the prescriber, pharmacist,      patient, and the 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.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post an explanation of the ethical and legal implications of the scenario you selected on all stakeholders involved such as the prescriber, pharmacist, patient, and the patient’s family. Describe two strategies that you, as an advanced practice nurse, would use to guide your decision making in this scenario.

– This work should have Introduction and conclusion

– This work should have at 3 to 5current references (Year 2012 and up)

– Use at least 2 references from class Learning Resources

The following Resources are not acceptable:

1. Wikipedia

2. Cdc.gov- nonhealthcare professionals section

3. Webmd.com

4. Mayoclinic.com

Required Readings

**Arcangelo, V. P., Peterson, A. M., Wilbur, V., & Reinhold, J. A. (Eds.). (2017). Pharmacotherapeutics for advanced practice: A practical approach (4th ed.). Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

  • Chapter 1, “Issues for the      Practitioner in Drug Therapy” (pp. 3–14)
    This chapter introduces issues relating to drug therapy such as adverse      drug events and medication adherence. It also explores drug safety, the      practitioner’s role and responsibilities in prescribing, and prescription      writing.
  • Chapter 59, “The Economics      of Pharmacotherapeutics” (pp. 1009-1018)
    This chapter analyzes the costs of drug therapy to health care systems and      society and explores practice guideline compliance and current issues in      medical care.
  • Chapter 60, “Integrative Approaches to      Pharmacotherapy—A Look at Complex Cases” (pp. 1021-1036)
    This chapter examines issues in individual patient cases. It explores      concepts relating to evaluation, drug selection, patient education, and      alternative treatment options.

**Crigger, N., & Holcomb, L. (2008). Improving nurse practitioner practice through rational prescribing. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 4(2), 120–125.

Note: Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article explores issues relating to prescription drugs, specifically the frequency in which drugs are prescribed to patients. It also examines factors to consider before beginning drug therapy plans with patients.

**Philipsen, N. C., & Soeken, D. (2011). Preparing to blow the whistle: A survival guide for nurses. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 7(9), 740–746.

Note: Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article examines issues that nurses encounter when reporting errors in medical settings. It also outlines the role of ethics and the responsibility of nurses to notify all individuals who are impacted by a medical error.

**American Nurses Association. (2001). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. Nursing World. Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/EthicsStandards/CodeofEthicsforNurses/Code-of-Ethics-For-Nurses.html

This article outlines ethical standards in the nursing profession and identifies nine provisions of care that must be adhered to by all nurses.

**Anderson, P., & Townsend, T. (2010). Medication errors: Don’t let them happen to you. American Nurse Today, 5(3), 23–28. Retrieved from https://americannursetoday.com/medication-errors-dont-let-them-happen-to-you/

This article examines factors that lead to medication errors as well as consequences of these errors on patients and nurses. It also recommends methods for avoiding and eliminating medication errors.

**Drug Enforcement Administration. (n.d.). Mid-level practitioners authorization by state. Retrieved from August 23, 2012, http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drugreg/practioners/index.html

This website outlines the schedules for controlled substances, including prescriptive authority for each schedule.

**Drugs.com. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.drugs.com/

This website presents a comprehensive review of prescription and over-the-counter drugs including information on common uses and potential side effects. It also provides updates relating to new drugs on the market, support from health professionals, and a drug-drug interactions checker.

**Institute for Safe Medication Practices. (2012). ISMP’s list of error-prone abbreviations, symbols, and dose designations. Retrieved from http://www.ismp.org/Tools/errorproneabbreviations.pdf

This website provides a list of prescription writing abbreviations that might lead to misinterpretation, as well as suggestions for preventing resulting errors.

**Byrne, W. (2011). U.S. nurse practitioner prescribing law: A state-by-state summary. Medscape Nurses. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/440315

**Drug Enforcement Administration. (n.d.). Code of federal regulations. Retrieved August 23, 2012, from http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cfr/cfr/1300/1300_01.htm

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