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.


Ethical and Legal Consequences of Giving Medicine

When advanced nurse practitioners give care to people, they need to make sure it’s good quality. They have to follow rules about what’s right and wrong, what’s allowed by law, and what’s expected of them in their job. They have to gather important information so they don’t make mistakes when giving out medicine. Mistakes with medicine can be very serious and can even cause someone to die. If a nurse makes a mistake with medicine, they might have to deal with legal and ethical problems. But hospitals have systems in place to try and stop mistakes with medicine from happening. Nurses and other healthcare workers need to follow these rules to keep patients safe. Giving out medicine isn’t just about writing down what someone needs to take. The nurse also needs to know what might happen if someone takes a certain medicine and what might happen if they take it with other medicines.

Let’s imagine a situation where there’s a 72-year-old man who’s not responding because he’s had a very bad stroke. This paper will look at the ethical and legal problems that might come up in this situation, what to do about telling people or not telling them, and how to decide what medicine to give.

Ethical and Legal Problems

When a nurse prescribes medicine, it involves lots of people, like the nurse, the pharmacist, the person getting the medicine, and their family. Everyone involved has to follow the law and do what’s right to make sure no one gets hurt. Since the person who needs the medicine isn’t awake, their family needs to tell the nurse everything important about them. Knowing about the person’s past and explaining things to the family can help the nurse make the right choices about medicine. In this case, the nurse might have a hard time because the wife thinks her husband wouldn’t want to live like this, but the daughter thinks he still has a chance. So, the nurse needs to talk to both of them to avoid problems later on. The nurse might make a mistake by giving the wrong medicine, which could make the person even sicker or even cause them to die. Since the person can’t say what they want, it’s up to the family and the healthcare workers to make sure they do what’s best for them. If the nurse doesn’t involve both family members when deciding on medicine, it wouldn’t be fair.

Also, pharmacists help people use medicine the right way. If the nurse and the family agree on what medicine to give, the pharmacist is the next person involved. The pharmacist needs to help the person get the most benefit from their medicine. This means telling them how to take it to get better. And the pharmacist needs to be honest. If they know something bad might happen because of the medicine, they have to tell the nurse and the family to avoid problems. It’s important to tell everything, even if it’s not good news.

And the family needs to agree on what to do too. If they want to try and help the person get better, they need to make sure the nurse is careful with the medicine. If they notice a mistake, they have to report it by law. Because the person can’t say what they want, the decisions are up to the healthcare workers and the family.

Ways to Deal with Telling or Not Telling

Healthcare workers need to handle situations where they need to tell people things or not tell them in a strong way to keep people safe. In this case, since the person is old and not awake, mistakes might happen if the nurse doesn’t know everything about their past and what’s happening now. Even if there’s a mistake, telling everyone about it can help fix the problem. Mistakes with medicine happen a lot, but how people talk about them is very important. For example, in Texas, there’s a law about reporting mistakes with medicine. This law helps keep an eye on people who make mistakes and how serious those mistakes are.

Ways to Decide in this Case

There are two ways to decide what to do that follow the rules and what’s right. The rules say healthcare workers shouldn’t let anything bad happen to people. So, if I know I made a mistake with medicine, I have to tell everyone so they can fix it and keep the person from getting hurt or dying because of it. And there are also laws from the government that say healthcare workers have to be responsible for their actions. So, if I make a mistake, I have to tell the person and the hospital so they can fix it and I won’t get in trouble with the law.

Steps to Writing a Prescription

First, I need to figure out what’s wrong with the person. Without knowing that, I can’t give them the right medicine. Then, I need to say what I want the medicine to do for them so I can pick the right one. After that, I need to choose a medicine that will help them and not cost too much. And I need to think about other things that could help them too, not just medicine. When I write down what medicine they need, it has to be easy to read and understand. And I need to write down everything important about the medicine, like what it does and how much to take. It’s also important to not use short words or names for things to avoid mistakes. Using computers and other tools can help make sure there are no mistakes.

In the end, giving out medicine can be really serious. So, nurse practitioners who can prescribe medicine need to know all the rules and what might happen if they make a mistake. They need to know they could get in trouble if they give medicine to someone’s family without following the rules. If there’s a mistake, it’s really important for them to tell everyone who needs to know, including the person getting the medicine. And following the rules from the hospital and what’s been proven to work can help stop mistakes from happening.

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Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs

Advanced nurse practitioners must offer quality care to patients. These professionals must follow ethical, legal, and professional guidelines while conducting these duties. The nurse must gather vital information to avoid drug administration mistakes when prescribing drugs (Segal et al., 2019). These errors are fatal, and the prescribing nurse may face legal and ethical implications. Nonetheless, legal structures and policies exist to decrease medical administration mistakes via reporting systems incorporated by hospitals. Nurses and other medical professionals must adhere to guidelines to guarantee patient safety. The duty of nurses in medical administration exceeds simply writing a prescription accurately. The provider must comprehend the side effects and drug interactions. The case scenario involves a 72-year-old unresponsive male with a massive stroke. This paper will examine the ethical and illegal implications linked to the chosen scenario, the metrics of dealing with nondisclosure and disclosure, and the process of prescribing medications.

Ethical and Legal Implications

Prescription encompasses stakeholders like the prescriber, pharmacist, patient, and the patient’s family. These stakeholders must follow legal and ethical guidelines to avoid serious issues like patient death. These stakeholders are responsible for many people’s lives and must prevent prescription errors. Thus healthcare professionals are accountable and liable for mistakes made during a prescription process. In this scenario, since the patient is nonresponsive, the family must provide the practitioner with all vital data about the patient. Understanding the patient’s history and educating the family may help the prescription process.

For instance, in this scenario, the practitioner is in a dilemma because the spouse contends that her husband may not wish to live in a nonresponsive state, while the daughter believes the father has a chance. Thus, the practitioner must educate both family members to avoid legal and ethical issues after prescription. Hence, the ethical or legal implications may begin with the prescriber recommending the wrong medication, which may lead to the patient’s complications or death. The patient is nonresponsive, meaning the medication decision is left to the patient and family. The practitioner must be careful when making any medical prescription to the old patient. Not involving both family members when making drug recommendations will be unethical.

Further, pharmacists assist people in making excellent utilization of drugs. If there is an agreement between the prescriber and the family, the next stakeholder is the pharmacist. This stakeholder must strive to help the patient to accomplish optimum gain from the prescribed drugs. This means the professional will advise the patient on how to take the medication to achieve optimum health. Also, this healthcare professional must be an honest person. This implies that the professional must tell the truth concerning certain medications. For example, the pharmacist may collect data on a specific prescribed drug affecting the old patient. The professional must provide this information to the prescriber and the family to avoid complications. Disclosing complete information, including the medication’s side effects, is critical.

Further, the family must agree on how to handle this situation. If they decide to try to revive the patient, they must ask for due diligence during the prescription. If they arrest any prescription mistake, they are legally obligated to report the issue. As for the patient, the decisions lie with the healthcare professionals and family since he is nonresponsive.

Strategies to Tackle Disclosure and Nondisclosure

Healthcare professionals must handle nondisclosure and disclosure in a formidable manner to improve patient safety (Zaghloul et al., 2018). In this scenario, the patient is old and nonresponsive, meaning errors may occur if the prescriber recommends drugs without thoroughly scrutinizing the patient’s history and the current situation. Also, the pharmacist may ignore providing all necessary data, like side effects. Nonetheless, these professionals may correct these errors by informing the patient and all other stakeholders. Medication errors happen often, but how disclosure or nondisclosure happens matters a lot. For instance, in Texas, HB No 1614 relates to reporting medical mistakes. The strategy’s benefit is its ability to elevate the monitoring of professionals making mistakes and the intensity of the errors.

Strategies for Decision-Making in this Case

The two strategies comprise legal and ethical codes of conduct. The set moral standards need healthcare professionals not to expose clients to any harm or injury. Therefore, with this work ethic guiding me, I will disclose any mistake to prevent him from dying from drug-related damage that may arise from nondisclosure of particular issues like side effects. Also, state and federal laws ask for the accountability of medical professionals. Therefore, I will have an obligation to disclose any error to the patient and institution to correct the mistake and avoid legal obligation in some situations.

Process of Writing Prescription

The initial step is examining and defining the patient’s issue. Without this initial step, it would be challenging to make a prescription. Next, specifying the therapeutic goal will permit the professional to direct the prescription to a precise objective with projected results. Further, choosing a suitable, inexpensive, effective drug therapy is prudent. Moreover, it is appropriate to instigate therapy with pertinent details and the consideration of nonpharmacologic treatments. The prescriptions must be legible and clear (Brits et al., 2017). Data, warnings, and instructions are also vital when writing the prescription. Notably, The National Coordinating Council on Medication Error Reporting and Prevention suggests eradicating abbreviations for instructions and drug names to avoid medication errors (Tariq et al., 2018). Also, adopting computers and other tools may assist in eliminating mistakes.

In conclusion, providing drug prescriptions can lead to severe harm or death. Thus, advanced nurse practitioners with prescription powers must understand the legal and ethical guidelines and implications. They should understand that they may be held liable legally in case of any medication errors. Further, understanding that the law prohibits these practitioners from prescribing drugs to the family is vital. In the event of a medication error, it is paramount for the healthcare professional to disclose the information to relevant stakeholders, including the patient. Following institutional and evidence-based directions may help in averting errors.


Brits, H., Botha, A., Niksch, L., Venter, K., Terblanché, R., & Joubert, G. (2017). Illegible handwriting and other prescription errors on prescriptions at National District Hospital, Bloemfontein. Professional Nursing Today21(2), 53-56.

Segal, G., Segev, A., Brom, A., Lifshitz, Y., Wasserstrum, Y., & Zimlichman, E. (2019). Reducing drug prescription errors and adverse drug events by application of a probabilistic, machine-learning-based clinical decision support system in an inpatient setting. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association26(12), 1560-1565.

Tariq, R. A., Vashisht, R., Sinha, A., & Scherbak, Y. (2018). Medication dispensing errors and prevention.

Zaghloul, A. A., Elsergany, M., & Mosallam, R. (2018). A measure of barriers toward medical disclosure among health professionals in the United Arab Emirates. Journal of Patient Safety14(1), 34-40.