Patients frequently present with complaints of pain such as chronic back pain. They often seek medical care with the intent of receiving drugs to manage the pain. Typically, for this type of pain, narcotic drugs are often prescribed. This can pose challenges for you as the advanced practice nurse prescribing the drugs. While there is a process for evaluating back pain, it can be difficult to assess the intensity of a patient’s pain because pain is a subjective experience. Only the person experiencing the pain truly knows whether there is a need for drug treatments. This makes it important for you, as the prescriber, to watch for red flags and warning signs of abuse. In this Discussion, you explore the ethical implications of prescribing narcotics to patients with chronic back pain.
•Review this week’s media presentation on evaluating back pain, as well as Chapter 15 of the Buttaro et al. text in the Learning Resources. Reflect on the evaluation process for a patient with a history of back pain.
•Consider how you might evaluate a patient that presents with back pain. Think about potential red flags and warning signs of drug abuse.
•Reflect on the ethical implications of prescribing narcotics for chronic back pain.
•Think about what you would prescribe and why.
Post 1 to 2 page paper on: A description of how you might evaluate a patient who presents with back pain. Then, describe potential red flags and warning signs of drug abuse. Explain the ethical implications of prescribing narcotics for chronic back pain. Finally, explain what you would prescribe for patients and why.
•Buttaro, T. M., Trybulski, J., Polgar Bailey, P., & Sandberg-Cook, J. (2013). Primary care: A collaborative practice (4th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
◦Part 2, “Primary Care: Adolescence Through Adulthood”
Chapter 15, “Chronic Pain” (pp. 96–101)
◦Part 15, “Evaluation and Management of Musculoskeletal and Arthritic Disorders” (pp. 887–983)
•Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2013b). Case study: Evaluating back pain. Baltimore, MD: Author.
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