The Ethics And Legalities Of Medication Error Disclosure

The Ethics And Legalities Of Medication Error Disclosure

The ethical implications of disclosure and nondisclosure

American writer Nikki Giovanni once said: “Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts” (Goodreads, 2012). Whenever you make an error when writing a prescription, you must consider the ethical and legal implications of your error—no matter how seemingly insignificant it might be. You may fear the possible consequences and feel pressured not to disclose the error. Regardless, you need to consider the potential implications of non-disclosure. How you respond to the prescription error will affect you, the patient, and the healthcare facility where you practice. In this Assignment, you examine the ethical and legal implications of medication error disclosure and nondisclosure of personal error.

Consider the following scenario:

· You are working as an advanced practice nurse at a community health clinic. You make an error when prescribing a drug to a patient. You do not think the patient would know that you made the error, and it certainly was not intentional.

To prepare:

· Consider the ethical implications of disclosure and nondisclosure.

· Research federal and state laws for advanced practice nurses. Reflect on the legal implications of disclosure and nondisclosure for you and the health clinic.

· Consider what you would do as the advanced practice nurse in this scenario including whether or not you would disclose your error.

· Review the Institute for Safe Medication Practices website in the Learning Resources. Consider the process of writing prescriptions. Think about strategies to avoid medication errors.

Write a 2- to 3-page paper that addresses the following:

· Explain the ethical and legal implications of disclosure and nondisclosure. Be sure to reference laws specific to your state.

· Describe what you would do as the advanced practice nurse in this scenario including whether or not you would disclose your error. Provide your rationale.

· Explain the process of writing prescriptions including strategies to minimize medication errors.




The Ethics and Legalities of Medication Error Disclosure




Student’s Name







The Ethics and Legalities of Medication Error Disclosure

The Ethical Implications of Disclosure and Nondisclosure

An elementary mistake in medication may have life-altering upshots, and traversing the exquisite balance between ethics and legalities in revealing medication errors can be an intimidating task for healthcare professionals. Nurses, like any other individual, are human and vulnerable to making an error. In day-to-day ventures, nurses can experience errors in their line of work. An advanced nurse qualified to prescribe drugs can make a prescription error. The disclosure of medication errors is essential in healthcare ethics and legalities. Medication errors are familiar and can lead to adverse patient results such as injury and death (Rodziewicz et al., 2018). Healthcare professionals must comprehend their ethical and legal obligations concerning medication error disclosure. Healthcare professionals have an ethical obligation to divulge errors to patients and their families as a matter of honesty and respect for patient autonomy. Healthcare professionals may be legitimately needed to divulge medication errors in specific circumstances, like when the error led to harm to the patient or when state or federal law mandates disclosure. Lack of revealing medication errors can lead to legal and professional upshots for healthcare professionals, involving disciplinary action, malpractice lawsuits, and losing licensure (Robertson & Long, 2018). Healthcare professionals should balance their ethical obligations to patients with their legal obligations to their employers and managerial bodies during the disclosure of medication errors. This essay aims to explain the ethical and legal implications of disclosure and nondisclosure, explore a case study, describe what to do as an advanced practice nurse, and look at the process of writing prescriptions and the strategies for reducing medication errors.

The Ethical and Legal Implications of Disclosure and Nondisclosure

The disclosure and nondisclosure of information in numerous circumstances, like healthcare and business, can entail ethical and legal implications that should be accurately contemplated. It is ethically the correct thing to do to reveal an error to a patient, where the federal laws of Mississippi state that private policy developed the information and policy healthcare that sermonized the issue of patient safety in 2005 (Kaur et al., 2018). The rules highlight that patients are entitled to be briefed on their medication distress. As a nurse practitioner, one is needed by federal legislation to reveal any harmful errors they are committed towards the medication measures to the patient. States such as Mississippi and the District of Columbia have developed rules and regulations to govern the nurse from malpractice suits in case of disclosure of medication errors. Nurses must acknowledge their mistakes and apologize accordingly (Tigard, 2019). The ethics and legalities behind such errors need that nurses describe why the error occurred, how the errors can be subsided, and provide appropriate steps on how the mistakes can be avoided in the future. Nurses should look for legal protection in case of disclosure of any medication error they behoove to have made. By following the steps mentioned above, patients will respect one’s decision to admit to an error and be concerned when trying to fix the issue one created. An essential part of the healthcare field is the procedure on how the mistake is being tackled in a healthcare setting.

Advanced Practice Nurse

A considerable number of patients lately have little interactional duration with the nurse practitioners due to the higher demands for nurses in Mississippi. The tendency to perform a prescription mistake is high since a nurse practitioner has to handle a large number of patients at a time. The short duration the nurse practitioners spend on patients can lead to errors as they are in a hurry to offer a prescription catering for all the patients. The time constraint restoratives to wrong or irrational medication and prescription. The federal law states that nurses individually and simply account for the health status of the community and the existing hazards to the safety and health of society (Mokdad et al., 2018). Nurses are also accountable for educating the public on the current health issues in the community. They are also accountable for identifying circumstances and states causing illness in the community. They are cup-bearers encouraging healthy lifestyles and role models to the young generations to develop. As a nurse practitioner, one must also facilitate health promotional activities in the community and encourage legislation attempts to defend the fundamental national health objectives.

The Procedure of Writing Prescriptions and Strategies to Minimized Medication Errors

Developing a prescription needs specific guidelines that must be adhered to reduce medication errors present during the procedure. To start with, the issue or illness highlighted in the patient should correspond with the drug’s role. For this part, the drug must best treat the disorder. Differences in age are also essential in prescribing drugs to avoid the side effects that can result from some drugs on adults and children (Holland & Sayal, 2019). The medication administered must develop adverse side effects on the patient. Secondly, the dosage must be correct respective to how high or low the treatment needs. Also, to minimize medication errors, a nurse practitioner must consider the recent medication that the patient is undertaking. One is also required to check the compatibility of the drugs taken by the patient and the ones administered. There are parameters to ensure minimal medication errors that nurses must consider, including the storage of medications which must be known to set up the state of the drug, whether it is safe or not. The medication of the medicine should not adversely impact the patient’s lifestyle. Such factor develops questions, and the patient must also accept to take the drug. Before a patient gets the drug they must be highly informed of the side effects and how they will react to the side effects; Frugally, the cost of the drug matters to the middle-class patient. The nurse has to offer a plan for the patient, and the nurse can question if the patient has a plan for receiving the medications of the needed program.


Nurses like any other individual, are human and vulnerable to making an error, and in day-to-day ventures, nurses can experience errors in their line of work. An advanced nurse qualified to prescribe drugs can make a prescription error. Medication mistakes are susceptible to happen in the course of a nursing career, and sometimes it, is not intentional. There are laws that a nurse can follow to safeguard them from malpractice costume. With the high demand for nurses in society, a few nurses serve a considerable number of patients leading to make errors while prescribing medications for patients. Revealing an error is the appropriate thing to do and ensure redress to enable the client to recover successfully. Justifications and explanations to the patient develop trust between the nurse and the patient.










Holland, J., & Sayal, K. (2019). Relative age and ADHD symptoms, diagnosis and medication: a systematic review. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry28, 1417-1429.

Kaur, J., Dara, R. A., Obimbo, C., Song, F., & Menard, K. (2018). A comprehensive keyword analysis of online privacy policies. Information Security Journal: A Global Perspective27(5-6), 260-275.

Mokdad, A. H., Ballestros, K., Echko, M., Glenn, S., Olsen, H. E., Mullany, E., … & US Burden of Disease Collaborators. (2018). The State of US Health, 1990-2016: burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors among US states. Jama319(14), 1444-1472.

Robertson, J. J., & Long, B. (2018). Suffering in silence: medical error and its impact on health care providers. The Journal of emergency medicine54(4), 402-409.

Rodziewicz, T. L., Houseman, B., & Hipskind, J. E. (2018). Medical error reduction and prevention.

Tigard, D. W. (2019). Taking the blame: appropriate responses to medical error. Journal of Medical Ethics45(2), 101-105.

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