Outline the concept of professional accountability as it pertains to nursing. Provide examples of how a nurse demonstrates professional accountability in clinical expertise, the nursing process, and evidence-based practice.
Nursing Concept of Professional Accountability
Professional accountability is the foundation and heart of the nursing practice. It allows nurses to be obligated for their actions.The professional accountability related to nursing is explained as obtaining authority for oneâ€™s nursing discernment and measures associated with life-long learning while conforming and maintaining the standards of nursing care. It is a responsibility that helps the nurses develop their clinical judgments, thus, improving patientâ€™s quality of life (Esfandnia, 2015). Accountability molds the professional behaviors and character of the nurses and helps overcome the future challenges related to their work. Also, it develops an organizational culture and a good work environment.
Nurses may demonstrate professional accountability in clinical expertise. For example, a nurse decided to increase the oxygen flow rate of a hypertensive patient whose saturation was dropped but the patient complained of shortness of breath (Baker, 2017). The nurse then raises the head of the bed and gave nebulizer treatment as ordered. When the physician asks about the oxygen flow rate, the nurse took responsibility and gave a rationale for her action.
The nurses apply the nursing process based on the priority and needs of the patient. Nurses have to assess the patientâ€™s condition and need first to decide the treatment plan and nursing care for the patient. An example scenario is a nurse taking care of a dying patient. The patient wishes for DNR (do not resuscitate) and wants to achieve a peaceful death. The nurse accepts the patientâ€™s willingness and gets proper consent from the patient or family members (Schroeder, 2018). She must continue evaluating the patient and give hospice care.
Nurses have to work within the scope of practice. An example of professional accountability in evidence-based practice is the administration of oxygen to COPD patients. Oxygen administration may cause an increase in carbon dioxide (hypercapnia) and respiratory acidosis (Gustafsson, 2018). So the nurses have to deliver the right amount of oxygen based on the protocol. Continuous monitoring will also be provided for the patient. This will improve the quality of life of COPD patients.
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