Nursing Accountability In Nursing

670 Words3 Pages
Accountability and responsibility are fundamental components of professional nursing practice. Being accountable for one’s actions means that nurses and midwives must be prepared to justify the decisions they make. All healthcare staff, whether they are students, HCAs, nurses or doctors, owe a duty of care to a patient, and must ensure that decisions are always made in their best interests. A duty of care is imposed upon these individuals by law, and exists even if they are not directly responsible for a patient’s care. Arising from this duty of care is an obligation to protect confidential information. In addition, all staff working within the NHS, must maintain patient confidentiality within contractual, legal and regulatory frameworks/confines.…show more content…
A literature review found that there was no consistent definition for accountability in nursing practice, and that it was open to multiple interpretations (Krautscheid. L, 2014). It also found that the terms accountability and responsibility are often used interchangeably, although Dohmann (2009, cited in Krautscheid. L, 2014) argues that the two words are ‘distinctly different’ from one another. Responsibility can be considered as a duty of care in law, and by accepting responsibility one must ensure that they have the relevant knowledge and skills to make decisions, in the best interests of the patient (Scrivener et al, 2011). Accountability involves taking responsibility for one’s actions and omissions, and being able to provide a rationale for them if asked to do…show more content…
In nursing practice accountability is based on four pillars that define the different types of higher authority that nurses are answerable to. These include the patient though tort law, society through public law, employer through a contract of employment, and their profession through statute law (Griffith and Tengnah, 2011). Nurses are also accountable to themselves, and must be able to live with the consequences of their actions. Together, this provides a framework of accountability that ensures maximum protection to patients against the misconduct of registered nurses. In addition, accountability regulates behaviour, acts as a deterrent to prevent misconduct, and educates by learning from the mistakes of others. As autonomous health care professionals that are accountable for their practice, nurses must make informed decisions to make sure that they respect and protect the confidentiality of patients at all times. It is therefore vital that nurses continually evaluate their practice, and ensure that their knowledge and skills are up to date, so that their care is evidence based, and in the patients best interests. This is important as it ensures that care is delivered that is of the highest
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