NURS 6521 Week 2: Ethical and Legal Aspects of Prescribing

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NURS 6521 Week 2: Ethical and Legal Aspects of Prescribing essay assignment

NURS 6521: Advanced Pharmacology | Week 2 essay assignment

Responsibilities are given to him on whom trust rests. Responsibility is always a sign of trust.
—James Cash Penney

Nurses have been rated the most trusted professionals in the United States (CDC, 2012). With this trust comes a critical responsibility to maintain ethical and legal practices in order to preserve patient safety when treating patients and prescribing drugs. Since the scope of practice for advanced practice nurses is broadening, you will likely encounter new and complex ethical challenges in your clinical settings.

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This week, you explore ethical and legal implications of prescribing drugs including disclosure, nondisclosure, and prescriptive authority. You also examine the process of writing prescriptions to avoid prescription drug errors.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this week, students will:
  • Evaluate ethical and legal implications related to prescribing drugs
  • Analyze ethical and legal practices of prescribing drugs
  • Evaluate ethical and legal implications of disclosure and nondisclosure
  • Analyze the process of writing prescriptions to avoid medication errors
  • Understand and apply key terms, concepts, and principles related to ethical and legal aspects of prescribing

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, Ladd and Hoyt (2016), the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Sabatino et al (2017).
  • 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:

By Day 3

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.

By Day 6

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses and respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days who selected a different scenario than you did, in one or more of the following ways:

  • Suggest additional ethical and legal implications for all stakeholders in your colleagues’ scenarios.
  • Offer and support an alternative perspective using readings from the classroom or from your own research in the Walden Library.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.

Assignment:
The Ethics and Legalities of Medication Error Disclosure essay asssignment

American writer Nikki Giovanni once said: “Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts” (Goodreads, 2012). Whenever you make an error when writing a prescription, you must consider the ethical and legal implications of your error—no matter how seemingly insignificant it might be. You may fear the possible consequences and feel pressured not to disclose the error. Regardless, you need to consider the potential implications of non-disclosure. How you respond to the prescription error will affect you, the patient, and the health care facility where you practice. In this Assignment, you examine ethical and legal implications of disclosure and nondisclosure of personal error.

Consider the following scenario:

  • You are working as an advanced practice nurse at a community health clinic. You make an error when prescribing a drug to a patient. You do not think the patient would know that you made the error, and it certainly was not intentional.

To prepare:

  • Consider the ethical implications of disclosure and nondisclosure.
  • Research federal and state laws for advanced practice nurses. Reflect on the legal implications of disclosure and nondisclosure for you and the health clinic.
  • Consider what you would do as the advanced practice nurse in this scenario including whether or not you would disclose your error.
  • Review the Institute for Safe Medication Practices website in the Learning Resources. Consider the process of writing prescriptions. Think about strategies to avoid medication errors.

By Day 7

Write a 2- to 3- page paper that addresses the following:

  • Explain the ethical and legal implications of disclosure and nondisclosure. Be sure to reference laws specific to your state.
  • Describe what you would do as the advanced practice nurse in this scenario including whether or not you would disclose your error. Provide your rationale.
  • Explain the process of writing prescriptions including strategies to minimize medication errors.

 

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