Pharmacology-Legal Profession Essay

Pharmacology-Legal Profession Essay


Medication errors are preventable events that lead to inappropriate medication use or harm the patient while the medication is in control of a healthcare professional. Often, these errors occur during prescription, entering information in the system, ad during dispensing. However, these mistakes can be knowledge-based, rule-based, action-based, and memory-based lapses. This paper describes the ethical implications of closure and non-disclosure, federal and state laws for the advanced practitioners, the legal implication for disclosure and non-disclosure, the process of writing prescriptions, and the process to minimize medication errors. Pharmacology-Legal Profession Essay


Ethical and legal implications in the scenario

Medication errors in this scenario are lack of documentation of the drugs, the dosage, and frequency.  There are no evaluation notes for the patient such as current complaint, past medical history, and the current medication that would guide the plan of treatment. In addition, the nurse on duty does not communicate to the patient’s relative to make medical decisions. The prescriber has not formulated a goal oriented therapeutic plan. For example, an immobile patient with stroke should be on anticoagulants such as heparin to avoid occurrence of DVT. The prescriber should also indicate the amount of oxygen delivered via the ventilator. Ethical principles violated in this scenario are beneficence, non-maleficence, and informed consent. The nurse on duty did not consult on the medication to prescribe to the patient. The patient’s condition was worsening and exposing him to medical harm. In addition, the nurse did not consent the treatment method from the relatives.

Ethical implications of disclosure and non-disclosure

Ethical principles are the moral values that guide the nursing profession. Therefore, the nurses are responsible for acting within the confines of the law concerning medication to ensure patient safety. Writing prescriptions and dispensing medicine is an integral part of providing care for the patients. Prescription errors expose the patient to harm, therefore, violating the ethical principle of non-maleficence (Cuschieri, C. 2020). Ethical concerns with drug prescription and administration include understanding the medication and ensuring the prescribers take responsibility. Medical error disclosure is the communication between a healthcare provider and the patient or the patient’s family members to acknowledge the event of an error, discuss what happened, and describe the link between the error to the patient. Ethical guideline and legislation recommends disclosure of medication errors. Patients become more inclined to consider litigation of medical errors if their physician did not disclose to them. The disclosure also reinforces the importance of a physician’s knowledge sharing medical errors to a patient. Non-disclosure of medication errors to the patient or the family mental violates the ethical principle of autonomy and trust. Concealing medication errors limits the patient’s ability to make informed decisions and reduces their trust in the care provider. Pharmacology-Legal Profession Essay

Federal and state laws for advanced practice nurses

The majority of the patients have less interaction time with the nurses due to the high demand for nurses. The chances of committing a prescription error are high due to work overload. The majority of the errors occur when the nurses spend lesser time with the patient while in a hurry to offer prescriptions. According to federal law, nurses are accountable for the health status and the existing dangers to the safety and health of society (Poghosyan, L. 2018). The federation law society for nurses states that the nurses are responsible for educating the community on the current health issues. They should identify conditions and circumstances that cause any form of illness. They should encourage healthy lifestyles and act as role models to the young generations. Nurses should also participate in health promotion activities in the community and foster legislation. The federal law for advanced nursing practitioners states that all nurses should disclose any harmful errors committed towards medication procedures for all patients.

Legal implications for disclosure and non-disclosure

Medication errors violate the rights of the patients and expose them to danger. Often it is termed as malpractice that should not happen at whatever cost it takes. All medication errors have legal consequences or punishment against them. 95% of the medication errors are unreported due to the fear of punishment by the regulatory bodies (Shok, N., & Beliakova, N. 2020). The legal response towards medication errors includes compensation, accountability, and retribution. The law aims to protect both the patient and the advanced nurse practitioner. However, reporting medication errors is necessary to keep records of the commonly made mistakes. Disclosure of medication errors may lead to procedural legal actions against the practitioner. The law protects the advanced nursing practitioner in case of legal against them despite the closure. Non-disclosure of medication errors poses a risk of loss of trust, civil actions, criminal charges, and medical board discipline to the care provider.

What I would do as an advanced nursing practitioner regarding the error

As an advanced nurse practitioner, I have an ethical duty to disclose the harmful error to a patient according to federal law. I would call the patient and explain the medication error I committed towards drug prescription. Then I would sincerely apologize and become remorseful for the mistake done. This will make the patient understand the medication error and its contribution to the illness prognosis. It will build the trust and confidence of the patient in me during my practice. The patient gains the freedom of making health-related decisions.


The process of writing prescriptions

A prescription is a list of instructions written by the care provider regarding the type of drug to be administered, the dosage, the route of administration, and the frequency. Writing a prescription free of errors requires one to understand if the patient’s diagnosis, matches with the role of the drug the role of a prescription is to treat the illness or relieve the symptoms. In this case, the drug prescribed should treat the patient’s illness (Katzung, B. G. 2018). Every prescription should have the age of the patient. age differences determine the kind of dosage of the patient to avoid adverse effects. Often, children tend to have severe adverse effects to drug overdose compared to adult patients. The dosage should correspond to the patient’s body weight to ensure drug efficacy and avoid adverse effects. For example, some antibiotics doses are adjusted according to the weight of the patient regardless of age. Drug storage methods determine the efficacy of the drug. Nurses should explain the storage method for each drug to maintain its efficacy. The patient should be informed of the expected adverse effects of all the dispensed medication to avoid complications related to drug side effects. Pharmacology-Legal Profession Essay

Strategies to minimize medication errors

To reduce prescription errors, the nurse practitioner should use legible handwriting while writing the prescription. They should indicate the patient’s diagnosis in the prescription to establish the role of the drug in the illness Katzung, B. G. 2018). The healthcare organization management should hire qualified pharmacists who educate the patient on how to take the medication to avoid adverse drug interactions and ensure efficacy.


Medication errors are mechanical mistakes made during drug prescription or dispensing. Advanced nurse practitioners have the responsibility of acting within the confines of the law concerning medication to ensure patient safety. Prescription errors expose the patient to harm, therefore, violating the ethical principle of non-maleficence. Advance nurse practitioners are solely and individually accounted for the health status and the existing dangers to the safety and health of society. Most of the medication errors are not reported due to the fear of punishment by the regulatory bodies. Written instructions in the prescription prevent medical related errors. Pharmacology-Legal Profession Essay

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