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Posted: January 12th, 2024

Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs

NURS 6521 Assignment: Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs

Assignment: 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?

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These are some of the questions you might consider when selecting a treatment plan for a patient.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Caiaimage

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 NURS 6521 Assignment: Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs Assignment, you explore ethical and legal implications of scenarios and consider how to appropriately respond.

To Prepare
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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 NURS 6521 Assignment: Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs 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 NURS 6521 Assignment: Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs 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.
Reminder: The School of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references. The School of Nursing Writing Template with Instructions provided at the Walden Writing Center offers an example of those required elements (available at https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/templates/general#s-lg-box-20293632). All papers submitted must use this formatting.

Submission and Grading Information
To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK1Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name. NURS 6521 Assignment: Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs.

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Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs
Introduction

Prescribing drugs is a complex process that involves a number of ethical and legal considerations. Advanced practice nurses (APNs) with prescriptive authority have a responsibility to ensure that the drugs they prescribe are safe and effective for their patients. They must also be aware of the legal implications of prescribing drugs, including the potential for medication errors and the need to disclose any errors that do occur.
Ethical Implications of Prescribing Drugs

There are a number of ethical considerations that APNs must take into account when prescribing drugs. These include:

The patient’s best interest: APNs must always act in the best interest of their patients when prescribing drugs. This means considering the patient’s individual needs and preferences, as well as the risks and benefits of the drug being prescribed.
The patient’s right to informed consent: APNs must obtain informed consent from their patients before prescribing any drug. This means that patients must be fully informed about the risks and benefits of the drug, as well as any alternative treatments that may be available.
The patient’s right to privacy: APNs must protect their patients’ privacy when prescribing drugs. This means that they must only share information about a patient’s drug treatment with those who need to know, such as other healthcare providers or pharmacists.

Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs

There are a number of legal implications that APNs must be aware of when prescribing drugs. These include:

The need to follow the law: APNs must always follow the law when prescribing drugs. This includes laws that govern the prescribing of controlled substances, as well as laws that govern the reporting of medication errors.
The potential for liability: APNs can be held liable for any harm that results from the drugs they prescribe. This means that APNs must be careful to prescribe drugs only when they are appropriate and when they are used in the correct way.

Strategies for Addressing Disclosure and Nondisclosure

When a medication error occurs, it is important to disclose the error to the patient and to any other healthcare providers who may be involved in the patient’s care. This is important for a number of reasons, including:

To allow the patient to make informed decisions about their care
To prevent the error from happening again
To protect the APN from legal liability

However, there are some cases in which it may not be appropriate to disclose a medication error. For example, if the error is minor and is unlikely to cause any harm to the patient, it may be more appropriate to take steps to prevent the error from happening again without disclosing the error to the patient.

In general, APNs should err on the side of disclosure when a medication error occurs. This is because disclosure is the best way to protect the patient and to prevent future errors.
Strategies for Making Ethical and Legal Decisions

When making ethical and legal decisions about prescribing drugs, APNs should consider the following strategies:

Consult with other healthcare providers: APNs should always consult with other healthcare providers when they are unsure about a particular drug treatment. This can help to ensure that the patient receives the best possible care.
Stay up-to-date on the latest research: APNs should stay up-to-date on the latest research about drug treatments. This can help them to make informed decisions about which drugs to prescribe.
Be aware of the laws and regulations governing drug prescribing: APNs should be aware of the laws and regulations governing drug prescribing in their state. This can help them to avoid legal problems.

The Process of Writing Prescriptions

When writing prescriptions, APNs should follow a number of steps to minimize medication errors. These steps include:

Writing the prescription legibly: Prescriptions should be written legibly so that there is no confusion about the drug being prescribed, the dosage, or the frequency of administration.
Using the correct drug name: The drug name should be written in the generic form, rather than the brand name. This can help to prevent confusion and errors.
Including the patient’s full name, date of birth, and insurance information: This information is important for the pharmacist to verify the prescription and to process the insurance claim.
Signing the prescription: The prescription should be signed by the APN who is prescribing the drug. This helps to ensure that the prescription is legitimate.

Conclusion

Prescribing drugs is a complex process that involves a number of ethical and legal considerations. APNs with prescriptive authority have a responsibility to ensure that the drugs they prescribe are safe and effective for their patients. They must also be aware of the legal implications of prescribing drugs, including the potential for medication errors and the need to disclose any errors that do occur

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