Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs Assignment 1 Solution

Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs Assignment

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 â 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.

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.

Submission and Grading Information

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

  • Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK1Assgn+last name+ first initial.(extension) as the name.
  • Click the Week 1 Assignment Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
  • Click the Week 1 Assignment link. You will also be able to View Rubric for grading criteria from this area.
  • Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK1Assgn+last name +first initial.(extension) and click Open.
  • If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.
  • Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 1 Assignment Rubric

Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity

To check your Assignment draft for authenticity:

Submit your Week 1 Assignment draft and review the originality report.

Submit Your Assignment by Day 7 of Week 1

To participate in this Assignment:

Week 1 Assignment

What’s Coming Up in Module 2?


Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescription

Drug prescribing and dispensing come with professional, ethical, and legal obligations for the healthcare professional involved, including the healthcare institutions. Medication errors often result in adverse effects such as additional conditions, incapacitation, and even death.

Moreover, healthcare professionals have an ethical and legal obligation to act for the benefit and interest of the patient and avoid causing harm. Equally, healthcare professionals have to handle treatment plans, drug administration, and prescribing per established state legislation.

Therefore, it is crucial to understand how these regulations affect drug prescription and influences a practitioner’s treatment plan. This paper explores the ethical and legal implications of a wrong dosage scenario and provides an appropriate response according to the legal provisions in the state of New York.

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Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs Assignment
Ethical and Legal Implications of Prescribing Drugs Assignment


The selected scenario involves prescribing an adult dosage to a 5-year boy, which contravenes medical prescription’s ethical and legal provisions. The following are the likely implications for the different stakeholders.


Like any other healthcare professional, the prescriber is under ethical and legal obligations not to cause harm and act in the patient’s best interest. Following the wrong prescription, the prescriber’s face consequences that affect their personal and professional status, confidence, and practices. Equally, the prescriber can suffer from second victim syndrome, leading to anxiety, guilt, shame, and self-doubt.


While the pharmacist is not directly involved in prescription, they can face medical board discipline and suffer from second victim syndrome, which can be life-threatening. Legally, pharmacists have to report the medicines dispensed through an electronic transmission to the primary healthcare practitioner and make themselves available to answer any unwanted outcomes (New York State Education Department, 2021). In this sense, they are liable and can face civic actions from medical malpractice.


As the first victim, the patient may be injured from the results of the wrong dosage. This can interfere with their path to recovery, leading to unwanted health outcomes. Conditions such as rashes, itching, or skin disfigurement are typical results of the wrong dosage. While not common, the patient may suffer life-threatening effects from the dosage.


If the patient suffers significant effects, their family can experience much harm, leading to poor physical, psychological, and financial status. The financial hardship can result from prolonged hospital stays of additional conditions associated with the medication error. Besides, the psychological harm could result in extensive distrust in medical institutions and dissatisfaction. The family may also choose to take legal action against the prescriber and the organization.

Strategies to Address Disclosure and Nondisclosure

New York established a Patient Occurrence Reporting and Tracking System that compels healthcare practitioners to report adverse events and medication errors (New York State, 2020). The system allows the healthcare provider to monitor and evaluate sources of medication errors and establish adequate strategies to mitigate future occurrences. Consequently, I will report the medication error, including the patient details, the drug prescribed, the correct dosage, interval, and the time it should be taken.

Legally, the bill of rights advocates for full disclosure of medical errors (Ladd & Hoyt, 2016). Therefore, an effective strategy to address disclosure or nondisclosure is necessary to avoid further consequences for medication errors. However, I will only disclose the medication error to the patient’s family member or guardian. In this case, the patient is too young to understand the clinical situation, and instead, the parents or guardians should be informed of the medication error committed, the possible consequences, and the interventions to avoid these consequences.

The error should be described in non-technical terms to understand the patient’s parents or guardians better. I will acknowledge the error committed and offer a genuine apology for the medication error, and cover for the direct medication costs if any should arise from the error.

Prescription Writing Process

Following an appropriate procedure when writing prescriptions helps in eliminating medical errors. This explains why a stringer procedure is put in place to verify the capability of an RN before being certified and licensed by the DEA to prescribe drugs in clinical settings.

This ensures safety and minimizes errors. The first activity when prescribing medication is to evaluate and describe the patient’s condition. After that, the prescriber should ascertain the adopted treatment objective and then identify the appropriate medicine. Consequently, initiate the medication, nonpharmacologic interventions alternatives with similar results necessary details.

The next step is to provide details of the drug name, amount/dosage for the patient, the frequency of medication, and the time the drug should be taken. The information should be clear and complete, including warnings, side effects, and allergies (Ladd & Hoyt, 2016).

The clarity will ensure the pharmacists dispense drugs appropriately and clarify errors beyond the prescriber’s knowledge. Equally, the prescriber should monitor treatment outcomes, considering usage alerts and reminders. Moreover, using prescription-dispensing machines/software to increase the accuracy of prescriptions. The prescriber should also document the prescription and all the instructions, double/triple checking the procedures to ensure they are readable, complete, and accurate.


Medical prescription is a crucial aspect of treatment interventions in clinical settings. As a result, the DEA ensures that all licensed prescribers are capable of appropriate prescribing. Equally, ethical and legal obligations exist that guide prescribing and ensure every prescriber makes the correct prescriptions.

Nevertheless, medication errors associated with prescribing are still a common phenomenon and affect patients and prescribers, pharmacists, and healthcare providers. Therefore, due diligence, ethical obligations, disciplinary and legal action have been instituted to compel prescribers and relevant authorities to ensure safe prescriptions and appropriate response to associated errors to minimize injuries.


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 Practitioners29(5), 248-254.

Ladd, E., & Hoyt, A. (2016). Shedding light on nurse practitioner prescribing. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners12(3), 166-173.

New York State. (March 2020). The New York Patient Occurrence Reporting and Tracking System (NYPORTS).

New York State Education Department. (May 2021). Education Law: Article 137, Pharmacy.

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