Accountability in Nursing Essay

1814 Words Nov 26th, 2014 8 Pages
Introduction
Responsibility is defined as the "reliability, dependability, and the obligation to accomplish work”, responsibility also includes each person's obligation to perform at an acceptable level, the level that the person has been educated (Kelly-Heidenthal, 2003, p. 268). Accountability is defined as, "being responsible and liable for actions or failure of actions of oneself or others in the context of delegation" (NCSBN, 2009). This is in reference to the nurse's legal liability for the actions taken and patient outcomes. Accountability and responsibility are different, as responsibility belongs to the person doing the task and accountability belongs to the person who assigned the task. The nurse is both accountable for the task
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Professional accountability is an enormous term that applies to any one directly involved in professional healthcare.
The medical field just like any other sector in the society is overseen by the law, to be specific; it is normally categorized under common law in all legal systems. However apart from a few specific circumstances (e.g. prescribing etc.), the law does not propose which tasks are suitable for particular healthcare personnel. It does however provide a crucial regulatory framework that applies to every individual whatever their rank or role.
Common law of negligence is the subcategory of law that normally deals with professional accountability. Any mishaps by a practicing nurse leads to accountability of the outcome. A simple procedure of admitting a patient requires extreme caution what transpires within the period of the patients stay in the medical facility can lead to liability.
The law imposes a duty of care on practitioners, whether healthcare support workers, registered nurses, doctors or others, in circumstances where it is ‘reasonably foreseeable’ that they might cause harm to patients through their actions or their failure to act (Cox 2010). Responsibility equates to the duty of care in law. The duty of care applies whether the task involves feeding a patient or complex surgery – in each case there is the opportunity for harm…

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