In an article titled Promoting professional accountability and ownership: Nursing leaders set the tone for a culture of professional responsibility published by American Nurse Today authors Sherman, Rose O.; Cohn, Tanya M. examine and attempt to come up with their definition of professional accountability. The authors state,“Professional accountability is an internally driven mindset. It’s a commitment that you make to yourself and your career when you become a nurse to advance, grow, improve, and adapt to your work. It’s also a pledge to apply your talents, energies, and gifts to improve patient outcomes.” (Sherman, R. O., & Cohn, T. M. 2019 para. 5) The authors explained how professional accountability applies to nursing but focuses on the individual making themselves accountable. While holding oneself accountable as a nurse is very important it will be more effective if the each and every professional holds their counterparts accountable as well. This has the weight of the 3 plus million nurses each leaning on each other to maintain standards of care and act as a “professional” should.
Application of professional accountability in clinical expertise occurs on a regular basis as the nurse is working. How this is happening is due to the fact the nurses are continually expanding their clinical experience with each and every patient they care for. Through detailed systematic assessments they are utilizing a clinical skill and will often refer to professional resources to learn more and ensure they are providing the best level of care possible. They will often utilize more experienced nurses for advice. The nurse will also apply professional accountability in the clinical setting in regard to the nursing process usually by communicating with others in the Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) on the plan of care. The nurse is continually applying the nursing process, but it is verbalized to the IDT and usually the charge nurse during the shift. This is a demonstration of professional accountability because the members of the IDT are expecting the nurse present the nursing process to them so they can have input. This expectation of others is the accountability part. Another area of professional accountability is in evidence-based practice (EBP). The general public and the profession expect that nurses are utilizing current EBP in their care for others as this allows for better patient outcomes and is the standard of care. The nurse is held to this standard and is accountable by the other nurses that will care for the client. An example would be a client admitted to the hospital for a surgical procedure will potential have multiple nurses caring for them during their stay in the hospital. Every nurse that cares for the same client need to have continuity and consistency in their care and this is established by standards of care and EBP.
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