According to the code of ethics of the American Nurses Association (ANA), “Accountability means to be answerable to oneself and others for one’s own actions.” Accountability in nursing requires nurses to follow an ethical conduct code based in the “principles of fidelity and respect for the dignity, worth, and self-determination of patients”. In simple words ‘accountability’ means to be responsible, Accountability is taking full responsibility for myself, my decisions, and my actions. This means that, as a nurse, I should know what I am doing and why am I doing it. I should have the proper training to do it and always try to do my best. I have to take responsibility for my mistakes and should learn from them. I also have to support my teammates. We’re accountable for our patients. There is going to be times when our actions could cause harm because the procedure was not carried out in a careful /competent way or because of omission. Nurses are still accountable for any errors they make that could cause harm to patients. When we talk about accountability there are three crucial elements: clarity, commitment, and consequences.
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Examples of how nurses demonstrate professional accountability are: perioperative nurses. They have the responsibility to act on behalf of patients during surgery when they are unable to communicate. During the assessment, nurses obtained information related to cultural and treatment preferences. Understanding and respecting this preferences protects patients. If a nurse sees that someone is trying to give blood to a patient that does not want to receive it because of her religious preferences she is accountable to speak up on behalf of the patient. Also, if the nurse see a violation in a sterile technique she is accountable to speak up and report it to the right person.
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