The dictionary defines accountability as : the quality or state of being accountableespecially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions (Merriam-webster.com, 2019)
Nurses have a responsibility to their patients to be accountable. One of the tools to help and guide nurses are the Nurses Code of Professional Conduct. The nurses Code of Professional conduct or Code of ethics,” is a compilation of ethical rules designed to guide the nurse in making the correct decision in difficult patient-care situations. The Code contains nine provisions, each dealing with a different area of patient care. Nurses must adhere to the Code throughout all interactions with patients, colleagues and other health-care providers.” (Work.chron.com, 2019)
Under Provision 4 int the Code of Ethics it states, “The nurse has authority, accountability, and responsibility for nursing practice; makes decisions; and takes actions consistent with the obligation to promote health and to provide optimal care.” (ANA, 2019)
In caring for a patient, a nurse can demonstrate professional accountability by only rendering care he/she is competent to do. An example of this would be a nurse with no tele experience or training hired to work on a med surge floor being floated or pulled to work on telemetry unit. If that nurse accepted the assignment without having passed a tele competency he/she would be working outside their scope of practice and would be breaking the code of conduct. they would not be showing accountability in their actions to the patients or their practice and could put the patient and nursing license in jeopardy. They could also be charged with misconduct. A Nurse who refused said assignment and bumped up the issue to a supervisor would be holding themselves accountable for the safety of the patients and the integrity of their license.
The reason we use clinical expertise along with EBP to make decisions is because we as health care providers cannot know everything. Even if we have years of clinical experience and expertise. In that sense it is important to bring clinical expertise together with EBP to bring forward the best care for our patients and by incorporating both we are being fully accountable to our practice and for our patients.