What are Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs?


All the stakeholders who are involved in the process of prescribing medication to a patient aim to promote the health status of the patient. However, this responsibility comes with a certain level of risk, and therefore such providers of care to patients are mandated to follow a particular set of rules and regulations that ensure that the proper procedure is followed in prescribing medications to the patient. This paper seeks to outline the legal and ethical implications of prescribing medications to patients, the various strategies to address disclosure and nondisclosure of error, strategies that I can use to guide my decisions as an advanced nurse, as well as the strategies that can be implemented to minimize medication errors.

The prescriber places their career in the event that they make wrong prescriptions. The prescriber also increases the liability of the pharmacist because the pharmacist unwilling provided the patient with the wrong medication that could potentially cause more harm to them. In this scenario, the patient has prescribed adult medication instead of medication for a five-year-old. The young patient could end up dying from medication in the event that the prescribed medication was too strong. As a nurse and as a prescriber, the principles of justice, autonomy and beneficence have been breached and have both ethical and legal consequences in the eyes of the law (Department of Health, 2019).  Nurses have a responsibility to protect their patients, and this also means that they are obligated to disclose all information to their patients to ensure that they have all the important facts and details to guide their decision-making process. In this scenario, the nurse practitioner operated outside the field of care of nursing and put the life of the patient in jeopardy.

The nurse practitioner is obligated to report the error made when prescribing medication to the patient to his or her supervisor because that is the standard course of action. The nurse practitioner has an ethical and legal obligation to disclose any and all errors that are made in the process of prescribing medication. In order to guide the process of making decisions in this scenario, as an advanced nurse, it is important to give full disclosure and maintain high levels of accountability should be maintained. The where, what, why, and what questions regarding the error that has been committed should be fully disclosed. As an advanced nurse, it is also important that the health status of the patient is also disclosed to the appropriate licensing authority (Rosenthal & Burchum, 2018). Opening clear channels of communication between the nurse and the patient as a way of ensuring that the patient has all the facts required to make the best decision.

There are several factors that should be considered when giving prescriptions to patients, and they include the age of the patient, any allergies that the patient has, as well as the name of the patient. Once the prescription has been written, it the duty of the nurse practitioner to follow up and ensure that the patient has taken the correct medication and in the right dosages. In order to reduce the error in prescribing medication, electronic prescribing should be adopted to reduce the margin of error that is present when prescriptions are handwritten (Burke, 2020). Online prescriptions also reduce the amount of time that patients have to wait for their medications.

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