NURS 6521 Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs

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NURS 6521 Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs essay assignment

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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It is a responsibility of a Nurse Practitioner (NP) to collect patient data by taking his or her medical history and conducting examination prior to initiating any prescription of medication. This move is essential for a NP to accurately diagnose the patient and offer an appropriate treatment plan (Rossi, Lipsey & Henry, 2018). In the case at hand, although the NP had autonomy to prescribe, the NP neither took patient history nor conducted physical examination, which is a contravention of ethical principles. Besides, the NP ought to understand the move was against the laws and regulations that operate in Texas to guide the practice. Therefore, the NP risk facing legal implications should the patient report any adverse effects due to medical malpractice. On the other hand, the pharmacist has an ethical and legal obligation to provide education to patient on the right use of the any prescribed medication and their possible side effects before issuing the patient with the medication. Therefore, failure to do this may attract legal actions. The patient and the patient’s family on their side had a responsibility to report any adverse reaction to medication to the NP for proper action including change or discontinuation of medication. Besides, they are allowed to initiate legal action against NP for negligence.

Strategies to Address Disclosure and Nondisclosure

In the present scenario, it is appropriate to report to the matter to the physician and consult on the best way forward. Essentially, in Texas, the NP is required to collaborate with physicians to form a relationship that fosters consultation and referral. However, many NPs do not trust this strategy for fear of possible loss of job since reporting such cases equal accepting committing illegal activities. Alternatively, the NP may rely on the statutory citation rule 413, which is a state apology law. This rule enables the NP to ask for pardon for contravening the standards rules of practice with a surety that such apology cannot be used against him or her in the court of law (Westrick & Jacob, 2016). In Texas, the statutory citation rule 413 is applicable as Tex. Civil Practice & Remedies Code Ann. §18.06. This rule is essential in enabling a better opportunity for the NP to indicate remorse and ask for forgiveness. Moreover, the NP stands a chance of legal action because this act is deemed as out of court settlement.

Strategies to Guide Decision Making

In this scenario, the NP made a mistake by failing to consider medical history of patient and prescribing controlled substance without being mindful of the potential occurrence of adverse effects. Therefore, if I was the advanced practice nurse, I would have conducted a detailed patient examination and consider the patient history to guide my action while prescribing the medication. Besides, the other strategy is to strictly rely on the Texas laws and regulations on prescription of controlled substance to guide decision making. For instance, I would work in collaboration with physician since NPs in Texas operates under restricted practice where they are required to form an agreement with supervising physician to be able to prescribe controlled substances (Lyapustina et al., 2016).

The Process of Writing Prescriptions Including Strategies to Minimize Medication Errors

Before writing prescription, it is advisable for the advanced nurse practitioner to first perform patient evaluation, diagnosis to identify the correct medical condition and the best medication for the condition. Consequently, according to Volpe, Melo, Aguiar, Pinho and Stival (2016), while providing hand written prescription, vital information such as date, patient’s name, address, and date of birth should be indicated. On the other hand, the prescriber’s name, contacts, and address should also be captured. Importantly, the medication name and associated details such as mechanisms of administration and dosages should be clearly stated.


Lyapustina, T., Rutkow, L., Chang, H. Y., Daubresse, M., Ramji, A. F., Faul, M., & Alexander, G. C. (2016). Effect of a “pill mill” law on opioid prescribing and utilization: the case of Texas. Drug and alcohol dependence, 159, 190-197.

Rossi, P. H., Lipsey, M. W., & Henry, G. T. (2018). Evaluation: A systematic approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Volpe, C. R. G., Melo, E. M. M. D., Aguiar, L. B. D., Pinho, D. L. M., & Stival, M. M. (2016). Risk factors for medication errors in the electronic and manual prescription. Revista latino-americana de enfermagem, 24.

Westrick, S. J., & Jacob, N. (2016). Disclosure of errors and apology: Law and ethics. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 12(2), 120-126.