What is Accountability in Nursing Practice?
Accountability in nursing practice refers to being answerable for the decisions one makes within his/her professional nursing practice career. This means that a nurse or a midwife should be able to give reasons for the choices they chose in their professional practice and should justify their choices in the context of legislation, professional standards and guidelines, evidence-based practice, and professional and ethical conduct.
Difference between Accountability and Responsibility.
Accountability means to be able to give an account of one’s nursing midwifery judgments, actions, and omissions whereas responsibility can be explained as the obligation to perform duties, tasks, or roles using sound judgment and being answerable for the decisions made in doing this.
4 Main Components of Accountability in Nursing Practice.
The following are the 4 core areas of accountability in nursing practice:
- Professional accountability.
- Legal accountability.
- Ethical accountability.
- Employment accountability.
The American Nursing Association’s Code of Ethics defines professional responsibility as being accountable to oneself and others for one’s own conduct. Nurses are subject to a formal accountability duty imposed by their Nurse Regulatory Board, and they must be prepared to assume professional responsibility for the care they deliver.
All nurses should be aware of their legal obligations in the position of patient care. Nurses are individually liable under the law for their conduct, and they are required by law to provide care within their scope of practice. Furthermore, legal accountability in nursing involves nurses’ responsibilities to understand what activities or duties may be transferred to others and the care with which they make delegation decisions.
This aspect of accountability in nursing practice pertains to the nurse’s obligation to provide for patients while keeping the patient’s best interests as a priority.
Nurses must be accountable to their employers. While it is normally assumed that the aims of the employer and the employees are the same, if perspectives diverge, nurses must decide how to respond. Additionally, nurses should recognize that accountability to employers should not compel them to act in ways that violate legal or ethical nursing practice norms. On the other hand, the employer should also endeavor to establish an environment that encourages professional, legal, and ethical accountability in all nurses.
5 Strategies of Promoting Accountability in Nursing.
Ways of promoting accountability as Nurse Leaders:
1. Nurse leaders must define what people are accountable for.
The nurse leaders should clearly define expectations of achieving goals and setting organizational responsibilities that support the organization’s goals, mission and vision. In short, the nurse leaders should set a good example by leading with accountability such as being available and spending time defining what their team is responsible for.
2. The nurse managers should set and cascade goals throughout the organization.
Nurse leaders should help their employees to clearly understand what they are accountable for by being involved in setting measurable and individualized goals that align with an individual’s role. Additionally, the nurse leader should prioritize ongoing communication with the nurses about how everyone’s personal contributions and successes impact the organization’s achievements.
3. Nurse leaders must provide updates on progress.
It is crucial to provide feedback about the employee’s job performance to help them correct their course towards their goals. Feedback can also help to motivate the nurses to work harder.
4. Provide opportunities for employees to learn and grow.
Whether through conversations or providing allowances and off-time, nurse leaders should create opportunities for their employees to learn and grow.
5. Recognize and celebrate progress.
As a form of feedback, nurse leaders must provide information about the employee’s performance. It is essential for the nurse leader to recognize and congratulate the nurse who has improve their job performance. This helps to make the employees more accountable which makes them to work even harder.
Ways of promoting accountability as Nurses/Employers.
- Set personal goals.
- Be consistent on delivering promises.
- Practice good time-management.
- Be honest about your mistakes and setbacks.
- Find a mentor who will hold you accountable to continued growth.
Benefits of Accountability in Nursing Practice.
The following are some of the benefits of accountability in nursing practice:
- Accountability in nursing contributes to the development of trustworthy relationships between patients and nurses, which can have a good impact on patient outcomes.
- Nurses who hold themselves accountable are more likely to succeed.
- A nurse culture of responsibility prevents the waste of important healthcare resources.
- Nurses who exercise accountability can help to improve the reputation of the facility where they work.