NURS 6521: Advanced Pharmacology Discussions, Assignments and Exams

Week 1: Basic Pharmacotherapeutic Concepts/Ethical and Legal Aspects of Prescribing

How do beta-blockers work? What exactly do antibiotics do to the bacteria they target? What effects does an anti-depressant have on blood flow?

Questions like these are related to the underlying pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes of pharmacotherapeutics. As an advanced practice nurse, understanding these fundamental pharmacotherapeutic concepts is important to ensure that the prescription drugs you recommend for your patients will be safe and effective to treat and/or manage their symptoms. Additionally, as the advanced practice nurse, it is your responsibility to ensure that when prescribing prescription drugs, you adhere to the ethical and legal principles set forth for prescribing drugs as an added layer of protection and safety for the patients you will treat.

This week, you will analyze factors that may influence pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics processes of a patient and assess the details of a personalized plan of care that you develop based on influencing factors and patient history. You will also evaluate and analyze ethical and legal implications and practices related to prescribing drugs, including disclosure and nondisclosure, and analyze the process of writing prescriptions to avoid medication errors.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Analyze factors that influence pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes in patients
  • Assess patient factors and history to develop personalized plans of care
  • Evaluate ethical and legal implications related to prescribing drugs
  • Analyze ethical and legal practices of prescribing drugs
  • Analyze strategies to address disclosure and nondisclosure
  • Justify advanced practice nurse strategies to guide prescription drug decision-making
  • Analyze the process of writing prescriptions to avoid medication errors

Learning Resources

Required Readings (click to expand/reduce)
Required Media (click to expand/reduce)

Discussion: Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics

As an advanced practice nurse assisting physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders, it is important to not only understand the impact of disorders on the body, but also the impact of drug treatments on the body. The relationships between drugs and the body can be described by pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

Pharmacokinetics describes what the body does to the drug through absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion, whereas pharmacodynamics describes what the drug does to the body.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Ingram Publishing

When selecting drugs and determining dosages for patients, it is essential to consider individual patient factors that might impact the patient’s pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes. These patient factors include genetics, gender, ethnicity, age, behavior (i.e., diet, nutrition, smoking, alcohol, illicit drug abuse), and/or pathophysiological changes due to disease.

For this Discussion, you reflect on a case from your past clinical experiences and consider how a patient’s pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes may alter his or her response to a drug.

To Prepare
  • Review the Resources for this module and consider the principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
  • Reflect on your experiences, observations, and/or clinical practices from the last 5 years and think about how pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic factors altered his or her anticipated response to a drug.
  • Consider factors that might have influenced the patient’s pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes, such as genetics (including pharmacogenetics), gender, ethnicity, age, behavior, and/or possible pathophysiological changes due to disease.
  • Think about a personalized plan of care based on these influencing factors and patient history in your case study.
By Day 3 of Week 1

Post a description of the patient case from your experiences, observations, and/or clinical practice from the last 5 years. Then, describe factors that might have influenced pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes of the patient you identified. Finally, explain details of the personalized plan of care that you would develop based on influencing factors and patient history in your case. Be specific and provide examples.

By Day 6 of Week 1

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses and respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days by suggesting additional patient factors that might have interfered with the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes of the patients they described. In addition, suggest how the personalized plan of care might change if the age of the patient were different and/or if the patient had a comorbid condition, such as renal failure, heart failure, or liver failure.

Note: For this Discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link, and then select “Create Thread” to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click on Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and you cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking on Submit!

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 1 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 of Week 1 and Respond by Day 6 of Week 1

To Participate in this Discussion:

Week 1 Discussion


Assignment: 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.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Caiaimage

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.

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 https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/templates/general#s-lg-box-20293632). 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?

Photo Credit: [BrianAJackson]/[iStock / Getty Images Plus]/Getty Images

In the next module, you will examine the impact of changes in pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes on patient drug therapy for cardiovascular disorders and the types of drugs prescribed to patients with respiratory disorders.

Looking Ahead: Week 2 Assignment

In Week 2, your Instructor will assign you a case study related to Assignment 1 by Day 1 of the week. Please make sure to review the “Course Announcements” area of the course to verify your assigned case study. Please plan ahead to ensure you have time to review your case study and Learning Resources in order to complete your Assignment on time.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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