The purpose of this assignment is to examine the ethical, legal, and evidential basis for safe and effective prescribing of psychopharmacological agents. The student will research some of the most commonly litigated situations in psychiatry in order to select a topic to work into an informative “Brief.” This is a one- to two-page paper that outlines a situation that informs prescribing practices (within the realm of legal liability, standard of care, or ethical decision-making).
In a legal sense, standard of care is defined as the type and level of care an ordinary, prudent, health care professional, with the same training and experience, would provide under similar circumstances in the same community. Use of high level evidence and resources is required.
Some potential topic areas include (but are certainly not limited to):
• Prescribing without conducting regular tests other relevant monitoring/testing
• Prescribing psychotropic medications without going through the informed consent process
(and documenting it), especially when prescribing off-label for children.
• Failing to document what medications have been ordered, the basis for prescribing the
medications, and changes to medications
• Failing to conduct a thorough neurological evaluation on a patient who presents with
decreased level of consciousness, an altered mental state, or who falls during hospitalization
• Assuming that your clinical rationale and professional judgment, which is the basis for the
patient’s treatment plan, does not need to be documented in the patient record As you prepare the brief, consider the following format:
o Facts of the Case.
o Reasoning (Rationale) o Separate Opinions
If there is a helpful practice guideline, treatment algorithm or other important take-away, be sure to
present/discuss it, and include a full citation in the bibliography.
The paper should be written a modified APA format, meaning that there should be a brief introduction, body (with sub/headings), conclusion and reference section. A cover page is not required.