To be professionally accountable in nursing is necessary and vital for patient care and safety. According to The American Nurses Association Code of Ethics, the definition of accountability “ is to be answerable to oneself and others for one’s own actions.”
The nurse has to ensure that while delivering care, accountability is owed to themselves and the client, the client’s family, colleagues, the workplace and the profession.
An example of professional accountability is during the admission process of a client to a psychiatric unit for the first time. The client is involuntary and is not sure what this status means for them. With professional accountability, the nurse explains the involuntary status and also ensures that the family understands what this status is in a psychiatric facility. Due to the fact that the hospital is a teaching facility and nursing students are always present, each opportunity must be seen as a teaching moment, so nursing students can understand how professional accountability impacts the care of clients from the time of admission.
A senior nurse knows that establishing a therapeutic relationship allows the client to feel safe and being professionally accountable impacts both client and student especially during the assessment phase. Here the nursing process is key to clinical expertise and using the nursing process demonstrates that quality of care must start from the point of admission to discharge. This nursing process is kept in mind by a highly educated nurse who also uses evidence-based practice to deliver safe and effective care.
Evidence-based practice in professional accountability allows the nurse to have a better understanding of the practice and how accountability influences her to make decisions that fully impacts patient care.(Brower & Nemec,2017) An example of evidence-based practice in mental health is to form a client-centered plan of care to ensure all decisions are shared-decision making. The care team and the client seeking help with mental health issues come together to have client-centered care and self-directed care.
With accountability to the client and self, the nurse is an advocate for the client and ensures that the latest evidence is used to drive change for better patient outcomes. ( Brower & Nemec, 2017).
Professional Accountability is one of the best ways for a nurse to self regulate, be conscious of the care and their impact when imparting knowledge to the future generation of nurses.
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