Accountability means:” being accountable for one’s own action”. The American Nursing Association (ANA) states in its code that the nurse will assume accountability for individual nursing judgments and actions. Professional nurses are accountable in several areas including accountability to the public, client, profession, employer, and self (Hood, 2010, p. 307). All professional nurses have the responsibility to work within their scope of practice to provide the best possible care to patients. Nurses’ should have a thorough knowledge about their accountability in specific areas of practice. The level of responsibility and accountability depends on professional levels. A nursing supervisor has more responsibility than a charge- nurse. A registered nurse (RN) is less responsible than a charge nurse because a charge nurse is capable of managing the whole unit and also works as a resource person for the nurses in his/her unit. Licensed Practice Nurse’s (LPN) job functions are monitored and supervised by RN, therefore RN’s responsibilities and accountabilities are higher than a LPN.
A professional nurse is accountable for the following when implementing changes in evidence based practice:
To the profession: Professional accountability allows nurses to work in a frame work of practice and to follow principles of conduct that maintains the patient’s trust in the individual nurse. These will in-turn support the nursing profession as a whole (Caulfield, 2005, p. 4). Nurses are responsible and accountable for their own actions and also for the colleagues. For example, when nurses from step down unit floats to intensive care unit charge nurses are responsible to delegate assignments to them. Charge nurses are then accountable for the outcomes of other nurse’s actions. Nurses also have a professional and legal responsibility to report chemically impaired coworkers (Hood, 2010, p. 309).
To the Public/Clients: Nursing is a profession that is responsible to patients and also to public. It is the right of the society to expect the best possible quality of care. So it is essential for nurses to stay abreast of current best practices. Nurses should have the knowledge of updated systems and modern equipments. Attending seminars and conferences, completing required competency tests, reading related books and articles, and complying with the required certifications are some of the ways to be proficient with the changes taking place in nursing field. Nurses should be aware of consumer’s increased level of knowledge and the increased accessibility to information from various sources (Hood, 2010, p. 307-308). Nurses are expected to be exercising reasonable judgment and deliver reasonable care to patients. Nurses have the obligation to act in the best interest of the patient. For example, recently one of my patients expressed her wish to change her code status. She stated that she is very tired because of her critical illness. She wants to go home to die peacefully....