Issues in Pharmacology: A Nursing Perspective, Coursework Example
Pharmacology in nursing presents a number of important challenges that require continuous improvement and evaluation in order to optimize care and treatment for patients. This process is essential for the discovery of new ideas that will positively impact nursing practice and provide patients with the tools that are necessary to promote healing. This practice, however, requires nurses to also consider personal or cultural values and beliefs that may contradict those of nurses and the healthcare environment and to achieve a balance between these opposing views. This process will encourage nurses to be proactive in their efforts to communicate their vision to patients and to allow them to provide their own input regarding the course of action that is required for their own care and treatment. With respect to the use of medical marijuana, a number of perspectives are well known that will impact outcomes and provide a basis for examining the context of this decision in order to demonstrate how medical marijuana is viewed throughout society in different ways. It is necessary to evaluate the use of medical marijuana with different patients and how it is viewed from a cultural perspective in order to demonstrate its value to meet their needs in different ways. The following discussion will address the role of medical marijuana in greater detail and will emphasize the importance of cultural influences, the benefits and disadvantages of this alternative, and how it impacts patient safety and the role of nurses in using this therapy in the practice environment.
Based upon expert knowledge and resources, it is known that “Public approval drives medical marijuana legalization efforts without the scientific data normally required to justify a new medication’s introduction” (Bostwick, 2012, p. 172). With this perspective, it is often very difficult for nurses and other healthcare providers who support medical marijuana to advocate for its use in order to determine its overall impact on patients and their needs (Bostwick, 2012). This is a highly specific need within the healthcare community that requires some degree of thought and consideration when other treatments have failed a patient for one reason or another; therefore, they must be evaluated as a possible treatment option when other alternatives have been unsuccessful for patients, but this requires a high level understanding of the different elements which might impact a patient’s wellbeing, given the controversy surrounding this method (Bostwick, 2012).
For patients who may require medical marijuana, it is important to determine how the culture of this drug typically impacts nursing care and treatment. Most importantly, a number of benefits from the use of medical marijuana have been defined in clinical trials and in other forms of research that are worthy of consideration: “Recent clinical trials with smoked and vaporized marijuana, as well as other botanical extracts indicate the likelihood that the cannabinoids can be useful in the management of neuropathic pain, spasticity due to multiple sclerosis, and possibly other indications. As with all medications, benefits and risks need to be weighed in recommending cannabis to patients” (Grant, Atkinson, Gouaux, & Wilsey, 2012). From this perspective, it is important to evaluate the conditions under which nurses are able to contribute to the discussion regarding the use of medical marijuana and its benefits for patients and also clarify some of the misconceptions regarding the drug and how it influences a number of diseases, including neurological disorders (Grant et.al, 2012). This process demonstrates a need for nurses to utilize their knowledge in an effort to produce effective strategies to treat patients with a variety of conditions for which traditional treatments have been ineffective to date and to explore the options that are available with the use of medical marijuana for those who might achieve significant benefits from this treatment (Grant et.al, 2012). Strategies require sufficient knowledge and resources in order to evaluate patients and their potential need for medical marijuana under controlled settings where the treatment will be effectively administered under the appropriate conditions.
The role of medical marijuana represents a need for nurses to better understand the impact of medical marijuana on their patients when legal precedent allows for this alternative in some states, and this represents a need to better understand how medical marijuana affects nursing practice and the ability to treat patients effectively on a continuous basis. In some states where medical marijuana is approved under some conditions, it is necessary for nurses to understand their role in facilitating a successful course of treatment when medical marijuana is available for use. Nurses must be able to address the needs of their patients with this type of treatment and to be effective in communicating the advantages of this treatment so that it will positively impact patients who require it in states where it is approved for use in this manner. For example, the State of Michigan permits the use of the drug under its Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, which enables the use of medical marijuana under specific conditions, but is also weak in some areas that require further consideration and focus (Jackson, 2013). In this context, nurses must demonstrate a high degree of professionalism and an understanding of the use of this drug in situations where patients will largely benefit from its use on a regular basis with viable results (Jackson, 2013).
Nurses must be able to demonstrate that they understand the challenges of using medical marijuana for some patients who qualify for this type of treatment. However, there are a number of ethical considerations that must be evaluated in the context of this therapy and how the legal implications of its use remain a significant challenge for many nurses and for their organizations (Philipsen, Butler, Simon-Waterman, & Artis, 2014). This provides an opportunity to examine the different constructs of the ethical arguments that impact patients and how these considerations may be difficult to overcome when cultural or ethical challenges are evident (Philipsen et.al, 2014). It is known that “The underlying ethical debates in the push and pull to permit access to cannabis for therapeutic use in the US rely on ancient ethical virtues and can create a classic “ethical dilemma” in which both sides have ethical arguments to support opposing conclusions” (Philipsen et.al, 2014, p. 634). In this context, it is necessary to evaluate the different conditions under which medical marijuana might be an acceptable therapy for patients and how it is impacted by the decisions made by organizations in their efforts to provide optimal care and treatment for patients (Philipsen et.al, 2014). These factors require nurses to examine the ethical complications associated with patient care and treatment in this manner (Philipsen et.al, 2014). Nurses must be responsible for developing a framework or strategy in which they are able to effectively contribute to the overall direction of the practice environment and to be mindful of the potential challenges of recommending medical marijuana in some cases for patients who otherwise might not have any chance to achieve a greater quality of life, particularly when they experience different types of conditions, such as those at the end of life, in which pain levels are high and represent a difficult set of circumstances that contribute to poor outcomes (Philipsen et.al, 2014). This process will demonstrate the importance of evaluating each patient’s case individually in an effort to produce the intended results and to encourage the practice environment to embrace medical marijuana use under some conditions where it may have a meaningful and lasting impact on patients (Philipsen et.al, 2014). It is important to identify the different conditions under which patients might also support the use of medical marijuana, even if their ethical principles or beliefs would not typically permit this type of treatment under any conditions (Philipsen et.al, 2014).
Treatments that are associated with medical marijuana continue to challenge the status quo and provide a means of understanding the dynamic between moral, ethical, and legal considerations related to this practice (Pfeifer, 2011). Under these conditions, nurses must be proactive in their efforts to produce viable treatment alternatives that have been proven effective under specific conditions, including medical marijuana (Pfeifer, 2011). Therefore, these considerations must provide real and lasting benefits to patients who face the end of life or who experience debilitating pain that is difficult to overcome (Pfeifer, 2011). These tools support a greater understanding of the dynamics of patient care and in the methods of treating patients effectively and without delays that could compromise their care or treatment in any way (Pfeifer, 2011). This practice requires an ethically responsible approach to the administration of medical marijuana with which nurses provide support to patients who require specific care and treatment of this variety (Pfeifer, 2011). This process will encourage a higher level discussion of the different elements of care and treatment with which legal precedent must be addressed so that nurses and other providers are within their rights to administer this type of therapy to patients in need (Pfeifer, 2011).
The use of medical marijuana in the nursing environment must be a controlled setting whereby its administration is managed b highly qualified nurses who are experienced in administering this treatment to patients (Kunwar, 2014). This process requires nurses to participate in different learning tools and exercises in order to become more familiar with patients who face pain and other difficulties that have not been alleviated through the use of other treatments (Kunwar, 2014). These factors are critical because medical marijuana poses many challenges for users and for those who administer these drugs in a controlled setting (Kunwar, 2014). This process will support and encourage nurse-led communication and knowledge sharing in order to identify the different elements of this argument that pose a higher risk to patients and to nurses (Kunwar, 2014). Therefore, a delicate balance must be achieved between these factors in order to facilitate effective outcomes for patients who require this type of treatment as a feasible alternative for pain and other conditions (Kunwar, 2014).
Personal Position Regarding Medical Marijuana
From my perspective, I believe that under the appropriate conditions and when patients do not respond to other commonly prescribed treatments, medical marijuana may provide the best possible method to alleviate pain in some patients with cancer or other conditions. This supports a critical need for nurses to gain knowledge of its benefits and to set any misconceptions aside that may influence judgments or other beliefs regarding the use of this drug in a clinical setting. Medical marijuana, however, must be well understood prior to its administration in a clinical setting. Due to the continued trend towards legalization in a larger number of states, this drug may continue to increase in scope and purpose in the nursing practice environment for the foreseeable future (Cerda, Wall, Keyes, Galea, & Hasin, 2012).
In a professional nursing capacity, it is in the best interest of all nurses to exercise sound and reasonable judgment with respect to patients and to be successful in this treatment method if it is chosen. Any misconceptions must be clarified and any limitations in the ability to treat patients with medical marijuana must also be considered in an effort to treat patients with the highest level of quality. This will support their efforts to understand medical marijuana’s benefits in alleviating some types of pain under specific conditions. In my role, I must be able to understand the nature of this practice and to recognize the perspectives of some cultural groups as they might oppose this type of treatment. By providing the necessary information, I am able to discuss this treatment method and also aim to support this type of treatment under some conditions. I believe that this support will be sufficient to engage some cultures and enable them to realize the benefits of medical marijuana when it is an appropriate and viable treatment method.
Patients must be able to obtain treatments that will have important benefits for their health-related needs under different conditions and that will demonstrate the importance of evaluating different conditions under which they are able to seek non-traditional alternatives that might be socially or culturally challenging. Nonetheless, they must be examined as part of a larger framework of success in treating patients who do not effectively respond to other therapies in an effective manner. This process is an important step towards the discovery of nursing-based initiatives that provide support for the use of medical marijuana under some conditions and in which there are significant opportunities to improve the practice environment when these treatments are available.
Most importantly, nurses must be able to collaborate regarding different types of methods in order to effectively administer medical marijuana under specific conditions. This also requires recognition of the potential ethical and legal challenges of this decision and how these issues may impact patients effectively over the long term, particularly when they work to alleviate pain and suffering in some patients. These issues must be considered and provide a basis for examining the different constructs of care and treatment that impact nursing practice and the patients who are served. This process is instrumental in enabling patients to receive the best possible care and treatment that is available, given the conditions that they face and their impact on outcomes.
Bostwick, J. M. (2012, February). Blurred boundaries: the therapeutics and politics of medical marijuana. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 87, No. 2, pp. 172-186). Elsevier.
Cerdá, M., Wall, M., Keyes, K. M., Galea, S., & Hasin, D. (2012). Medical marijuana laws in 50 states: investigating the relationship between state legalization of medical marijuana and marijuana use, abuse and dependence. Drug and alcohol dependence, 120(1), 22-27.
Grant, I., Atkinson, J. H., Gouaux, B., & Wilsey, B. (2012). Medical marijuana: clearing away the smoke. The open neurology journal, 6, 18.
Jackson, A. (2013). The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act: First Steps Towards Effective Policy and Responsible Practice. SPNHA Review, 9(1), 3.
Kunwar, T. (2014). Medical marijuana. The Nurse Practitioner.
Pfeifer, D. J. (2011). Smoking gun: The moral and legal struggle for medical marijuana. Touro L. Rev., 27, 339.
Philipsen, N., Butler, R. D., Simon-Waterman, C., & Artis, J. (2014). Medical Marijuana: A Primer on Ethics, Evidence, and Politics. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 10(9), 633-640.
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