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A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse that has advanced education and clinical training in a healthcare specialty. Nurse practitioners provide basic healthcare to either infants, children, adults, and families in a variety of outpatient and inpatient settings. Nurse practitioners provide the care an information needed to make informed decisions about patient’s health and lifestyle choices.
Being that nurse practitioners are highly educated and experience in their field, they are given the prescriptive authority varying across the United States (Nurse Practitioner). Nurse practitioners practice under the rules and regulations of the nurse practice act in the state that they work. Nurse practitioners can prescribe medication in every state and in the District of Columbia (Nurse Practitioner). However, a nurse practitioner’s ability to prescribe drugs varies from state to state.
As nurse practitioner, the role of developing a treatment plan for the patient involves drug therapy. “According to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, in 2006 there were 1.9 billion drugs prescribed during office visits, 247.7 million drugs prescribed during visits to hospital outpatient departments, and 212.1 million drugs prescribed during visits to a hospital emergency department. The percentage of the patient visits involving drug therapy was approximately seventy-five percent” Arcangelo et al., 2017, p. 2).
Before medications are prescribed, the nurse practitioner obtains the role and responsibility to gather a meticulous history and complete physical assessment. As this data is collected, a diagnosis is developed and a treatment plan is put in place. If a drug is necessary for treatment, the nurse practitioner must always understand and consider the responsibility and role involved in prescribing the drug. The nurse practitioner must also consider which class of medication is most suitable for the patient.
Ethical and practical issues must also be considered when drug therapy is involved. “A common example of this involves the patient with the cold to seek some antibiotic, such as penicillin. In such a situation, the nurse practitioner has a response was prescribed only medications that are necessary for the well-being of the patient” (Arcangelo et al., 2017, p. 6). The medication must also be effective in treating the problem. It is the responsibility of the nurse practitioner to be prepared to make it ethical and prudent choice of treatment for the patient.
Essential part of the nurse practitioners role and responsibility of prescribing medications is also an education. It is important that education is always included in drug therapy. The patient must be educated about drug therapy and it’s intentional therapeutic effect, protentional side effect, and strategies for associating with possible adverse drug reactions (Arcangelo et al., 2017).
A nurse practitioner must consider many factors when prescribing medications. When including drug therapy in a treatment plan, it is imperative the nurse practitioner achieves safe, appropriate, and effective therapy. The nurse practitioner must not only prescribe the medication, but also continue follow-up measures. In addition to drug safety and product safeguards, the nurse practitioner should be prevalent with therapeutic regimens and the latest drug therapies (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Updating drug information and keeping current on changes in drug therapy continuously renovates the practitioner’s knowledge. In conclusion, prescribing medications is a substantial role and responsibility of the nurse practitioner that must be taken earnestly.
Arcangelo, V. P., Peterson, A. M., Wilbur, V. F., & Reinhold, J. A. (2017). Pharmacotherapeutics for advanced practice: a practical approach. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.
Nurse Practitioner Prescriptive Privilege. Retrieved from https://www.aanp.org/advocacy/advocacy-resource/position-statements/nurse-practitioner-prescriptive-privilege
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