Accountability is a key component of nursing. Nurses are responsible for ensuring that patients receive the best possible care and that they are treated with dignity and respect. Accountability also extends to the quality of care provided, as well as to the safety of patients and staff.
There are several different types of accountability in nursing, each with its own set of responsibilities. They include:
– Clinical accountability: This refers to the nurse’s responsibility to provide high-quality patient care. This includes ensuring that patients receive the necessary treatments and medications, as well as monitoring their progress and keeping them safe.
– Financial accountability: This refers to the nurse’s responsibility to manage the financial resources of their unit or department. This includes tracking expenses, monitoring budgets, and ensuring that billing and coding are accurate.
– Human resource accountability: This refers to the nurse’s responsibility to manage the human resources of their unit or department. This includes recruiting and hiring staff, managing employee performance, and dealing with disciplinary issues.
– Legal accountability: This refers to the nurse’s responsibility to comply with all local, state, and federal laws. This includes ensuring that patients’ rights are respected, maintaining confidentiality, and ensuring that care is provided in a safe environment.
Accountability is an important part of nursing and nurses must be prepared to take on these responsibilities. By understanding the different types of accountability, nurses can provide the best possible care for their patients.
The quotation, “Responsibility is a guarantee of loyalty. It implies reliability, dependability, and an obligation to complete work,” by General George S. Patton (1928), expresses the concept of responsibility in its simplest form. Responsibility also refers to each person’s duty to perform at an acceptable level, as well as the obligation of everyone to fulfill their responsibilities. Accountability is defined as being responsible and accountable for one’s own or others’ actions or failures (NCSBN).
Accountability is a critical component in nursing. Accountability cannot be separated from responsibility, and both are essential for nurses (Chitty & Black, 2011).
Nurses are accountable to their patients, to the profession of nursing, and to society. Nurses must provide competent care, act within the scope of practice, adhere to ethical principles, and continuously improve their knowledge and skills (ANA, 2015). Accountability also includes being transparent and honest with patients and families about errors or near misses (IOM, 1999).
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System was released in 1999. This report brought national attention to the problem of medical errors and patient safety. The IOM report estimated that as many as 98,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors in hospitals. The IOM report also recommended that all health care organizations establish systems to track and report errors, near misses, and adverse events.
The Joint Commission released a sentinel event alert in 2002 titled “Improving Accountability and Patient Safety through Reporting and Learning”. This alert stated that one of the barriers to improving patient safety is the lack of accountability. The Joint Commission defines accountability as “the ability to be answerable for one’s actions or decisions and to accept responsibility for their outcome” (2002, p. 1).
The National Quality Forum (NQF) released a consensus statement on patient safety in 2003. The NQF consensus statement states that all health care organizations should have systems in place to track and report errors, near misses, and adverse events. The NQF consensus statement also recommends that health care organizations establish a culture of safety where employees feel comfortable reporting errors and near misses.
Nurses play a vital role in patient safety and quality of care. Nurses must be knowledgeable about the systems and processes in place to report errors and near misses. Nurses must also be proactive in identifying potential hazards and implementing interventions to prevent errors and adverse events.
The nurse is legally responsible for both the actions taken and the patient outcomes. Accountability corresponds to the person who assigned the task, while responsibility corresponds to the person doing the actual task. In this case, because the nurse was given patients to care for, they are responsible for any outcome- positive or negative.
There are different types of accountability in nursing: clinical, ethical, and moral. Clinical accountability is ensuring that nursing care meets the standards set by the profession. Ethical accountability is ensuring that nurses make decisions that are in line with the ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. Moral accountability is ensuring that nurses act in accordance with their personal values.
Accountability is important in nursing because it ensures that patients receive safe and high-quality care. Nurses who are accountable for their actions are more likely to be proactive in providing care and to take responsibility for their own professional development. Accountability also promotes transparency and trust between nurses and other health care professionals, as well as between nurses and patients.
There are a few ways to improve accountability in nursing:
– Establishing clear expectations for nurse accountability through policies and procedures
– Incorporating accountability into nursing education curricula
– Encouraging nurses to reflect on their own practice and to seek feedback from others
– Creating opportunities for nurses to share their experiences and challenges with accountability
– Conducting research on Accountability in Nursing.
This is the legal responsibility the practitioner is responsible to the patient. By accepting responsibility for completing a task, the practitioner must make sure it is done effectively at least to the standard of an average competent practitioner in that field. If a specialist such as a registered nurse should delegate work, they must ensure that it is done correctly.
The nurse is accountable for the actions of the person to whom the task was delegated. If a patient is harmed as a result of incompetent delegation, then the nurse could be held liable.
Accountability also includes being answerable for one’s own actions. In some cases, a practitioner may be held accountable even if he or she did not do anything wrong. For example, a doctor might be held liable if a patient died because the doctor failed to properly monitor the patient’s condition.
Accountability in nursing is therefore essential to ensure that patients receive competent care and to protect nurses from liability in case something goes wrong.