Posted: January 26th, 2023
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?
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 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 Assignment, you explore ethical and legal implications of scenarios and consider how to appropriately respond.
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 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.
The scenario for this week’s assignment is below:
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.
Write a 2- to 3-page 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
Rosenthal, L. D., & Burchum, J. R. (2018). Lehne’s pharmacotherapeutics for advanced practice providers. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Chapter 1, “Prescriptive Authority” (pp. 1–3)
Chapter 2, “Rational Drug Selection and Prescription Writing” (pp. 5–9)
Chapter 3, “Promoting Positive Outcomes of Drug Therapy” (pp. 11–16)
Chapter 4, “Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, and Drug Interactions” (pp. 17–40)
Chapter 5, “Adverse Drug Reactions and Medical Errors” (pp. 41–49)
Chapter 6, “Individual Variation in Drug Response” (pp. 51–56)
American Geriatrics Society 2019 Beers Criteria Update Expert Panel. (2019). American Geriatrics Society 2019 updated AGS Beers criteria for potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 67(4), 674–694. doi:10.1111/jgs.15767
American Geriatrics Society 2019 updated AGS Beers criteria for potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults by American Geriatrics Society, in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 67/Issue 4. Copyright 2019 by Blackwell Publishing. Reprinted by permission of Blackwell Publishing via the Copyright Clearance Center.
his article is an update to the Beers Criteria, which includes lists of potentially inappropriate medications to be avoided in older adults as well as newly added criteria that lists select drugs that should be avoided or have their dose adjusted based on the individual’s kidney function and select drug-drug interactions documented to be associated with harms in older adults.
Drug Enforcement Administration. (n.d.-a). Code of federal regulations. Retrieved February 1, 2019, from
This website outlines the code of federal regulations for prescription drugs.
Drug Enforcement Administration. (n.d.-b). Mid-level practitioners authorization by state. Retrieved May 13, 2019 from
This website outlines the schedules for controlled substances, including prescriptive authority for each schedule.
Drug Enforcement Administration. (2006). Practitioner’s manual. Retrieved from
This manual is a resource for practitioners who prescribe, dispense, and administer controlled substances. It provides information on general requirements, security issues, recordkeeping, prescription requirements, and addiction treatment programs.
Drug Enforcement Administration. (n.d.-c). Registration. Retrieved February 1, 2019, from
This website details key aspects of drug registration.
Fowler, M. D. (2015). Guide to the code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements: Development, interpretation, and application. Silver Spring, Maryland: American Nurses Association, 2015.
This resource introduces the code of ethics for nurses and highlights critical aspects for ethical guideline development, interpretation, and application in practice.
Institute for Safe Medication Practices. (2017). List of error-prone abbreviations, symbols, and dose designations. Retrieved from
This website provides a list of prescription-writing abbreviations that might lead to misinterpretation, as well as suggestions for preventing resulting errors.
Ladd, E., & Hoyt, A. (2016). Shedding light on nurse practitioner prescribing. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 12(3), 166–173. doi:10.1016/j.nurpra.2015.09.17
This article provides NPs with information regarding state-based laws for NP prescribing.
Sabatino, J. A., Pruchnicki, M. C., Sevin, A. M., Barker, E., Green, C. G., & Porter, K. (2017). Improving prescribing practices: A pharmacist‐led educational intervention for nurse practitioner students. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 29(5), 248–254. doi:10.1002/2327-6924.12446
The authors of this article assess the impact of a pharmacist‐led educational intervention on family nurse practitioner (FNP) students’ prescribing skills, perception of preparedness to prescribe, and perception of pharmacist as collaborator.
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