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Accountability of nursing professionals - Essay Example

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In health care, professional accountability and responsibility go hand in hand.The two are related in the nursing profession and one must posses both to be an effective and reliable nurse.Thus both are very vital in the nursing profession…
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Accountability of Nursing Professionals In health care, professional accountability and responsibility go hand in hand. The two are related in the nursing profession and one must posses both to be an effective and reliable nurse. Both accountability and responsibility are concerned with taking care of a patient and his or her family. In addition, they are also concerned with the code of conduct, behaviours and policies related to nursing profession. Thus both are very vital in the nursing profession. Accountability refers to the state of being liable to ones’ actions and willingness to accept the consequences of his or her own behaviour. It is a legal obligation and in nursing profession it entails ethical and moral responsibility. Nurses who are accountable treat their duties with a lot of seriousness. It is the responsibility of a professional nurse to act within his or scope of care and call upon his or her knowledge and skills in making decisions that are in the best interest of the patient. According to the American Nursing Association code, a nurse is accountable for nursing judgments and actions. Professional accountability entails everything from the way nurses dress, to their values, ethics and moral beliefs (Fineout-Overholt et al 2005). According to Melnyk and Fineout-Overholt (2005), Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) refers to the use of current and available best evidence to guide in making clinical decisions. Evidence-Based Practice began in nineteenth century when Florence Nightingale analyzed hospital data and used it to improve the quality of care given to patients. Although there are difficulties to the use of Evidence-Based Practice, its benefits have been overwhelming. Its use has reduced the misuse of resources and increased revenue by reducing cost. It has also led to many essential changes in nursing and provided safer patient outcomes. The collection of the hospital data and analysis of the same to make best decisions on clinical matters is not only a responsibility of the doctor but also the nurse. Both the doctor and the nurse are accountable for any decision made based on the evidence for practice. Therefore, in implementation of change based on the evidence for practice, a nursing professional has specific responsibilities and roles in which he or she is accountable to play. It is the responsibility of the nursing professionals to recognize and respond to the excess new demands that arise from the health care system which is usually ever changing and complex. It is also the duty of nurses to monitor the multiple new regulations and accreditation processes and ensure that professional standards are met. The nursing professionals are held accountable for the management of the competing priorities, the success of the succession planning and effecting cost avoidance. Moreover, based on the data collected and analyzed, they are expected to stress on safety, efficiency, quality and effectiveness in their line of work despite the changes that may be taking place. The nursing professional is also charged with the responsibility of taking part in developing and maintaining equitable working conditions that are socially and economically viable. The implementation of the decisions made from the evidence based practice concerning the improvement of working conditions are better carried out by the nursing professional. It is their duty to ensure that the changes made on the working conditions are those that are for the best interest of the patients (Fineout-Overholt et al, 2005). One of the EBP is continuity management. This is mainly important to patients who are terminally ill, need end-of-life care and those in very critical condition for example ICU patients. It has been proven that patients in the ICU who are attended to by nurses or physicians who focus on continuity of care spent shorter periods of time in the ICU than other ICU patients. Another evidence of the importance of continuity management was realised in elderly patients whose ADL impairments ranged from 1-5. A team of nurses and physicians regularly visited these patients in homes to provide treatment and continuous assessment. They also made a 24 hour phone support, environmental intervention like ramps and supportive devices like walkers or canes. The group that was used for intervention improved in their social activities and IADL. Although there was no difference in the costs incurred, pain scores for the intervention group had lowered (Melnyk and Fineout-Overholt, 2005). A group of patients receiving palliative chemotherapy were subjected to continuity of care. These patients were constantly being given counselling on how to manage their condition and emotional support. After the study, it was noted a great percentage of the intervention group had better levels of patient satisfaction, and improved role functioning and mental health. It also enabled the physicians to be more aware of their conditions thus better Medicare. From the above evidences about the importance of continuity management, there is a need for clinical nurses and physicians to adhere to, and even improve the structure of their communication to the patient. This will ensure sufficient emotional and psychological support and sufficient medical attention. References Melnyk, M. and Fineout-Overholt, E. (2005). Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing & Healthcare. A Guide to Best Practice. Philadelphia. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. Fineout-Overholt, E. Melnyk, M. and Schultz, A. (2005). “Transforming healthcare from the inside out: Advancing evidence-based practice in the 21st century.” Journal of Professional Nursing. (6) pp 335-344. Read More
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