Although nurses commonly treat their spouse, partner, or members of their own family, there is ethical concern about the appropriateness of doing so. Under certain circumstances, it is ethically permissible to treat one’s family members. The matter becomes more complex, however, when the symptoms are nonemergent or when the diagnosis is out of the NP scope or one’s clinical skills (AMA Journal of Ethics, 2012).
In my view, it is appropriate for Nurse Practitioners to prescribe for family members, provided that several conditions are met. First, the ailment should be within the Nurse Practitioner’s scope of expertise. Second, the Nurse Practitioner should not accept any limitations on having access to the patient for history taking and physical examination or to the patient’s medical record. Some family members just want what they want, without an explanation, which won’t work in this case. The Nurse Practitioner should be able to get honest answers to any medical questions, such as sources of exposure to an infection. Third, to prescribe the antibiotic medicine for my relative, as a Nurse Practitioner I should know enough about the appropriate therapy to feel comfortable with its use (McConnell, 2020). Finally, once treatment has been initiated, follow-up is essential. If the condition is not resolving as expected, the family member should be referred to another source appropriately. As such, in this scenario, I will consider the above factors and prescribe medications for the family member who asked me for my help.
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