Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs


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.  

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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.

To Prepare

  • 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.

By Day 7 of Week 1

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.


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.

Reminder: The College of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references. The College of Nursing Writing Template with Instructions provided at the Walden Writing Center offers an example of those required elements (available at All papers submitted must use this formatting.

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