Accountability is an essential component of professional nursing practice. As nurses, accountability is needed in order for our patients and their families to feel safe and cared for, as well as for employers to be confident in our ability to maintain competencies and provide safe patient care. Accountability is defined as one’s willingness to accept responsibility of his or her actions (Merriam-Webster. (2019). Professional accountability means that one understands his or her scope of practice and delivers appropriate care within these set scopes. If an error is made, in order to remain professionally accountable, it is our duty to report said error no matter how big or small.
Professional accountability also means that we, as professional nurses, will meet and maintain our competencies. We will have knowledge and practice according to our state’s nurse practice act and we abide by the eight ethical principles of nursing which include; autonomy, beneficence, fidelity, justice, nonmaleficence, privacy and confidentiality, respect, and veracity (Grand Canyon University. (2018)). These ethical principles lay out our duties and responsibilities as nurses. We must do no harm, respect a person’s choices, outweigh risk vs benefit to each individual patient’s situation, keep our promises, keep patient information confidential, be honest, and have truthful full disclosure to our patients (Grand Canyon University. (2018)).
Through the above examples, we are able to demonstrate professional accountability to our state board of nursing, our employer, and most importantly to our patients in the community we serve. By having the characteristics of professional accountability, we are held to a high standard and this is the reason nursing is one of the most trusted professions.