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 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.