Accountable Practitioner

Nursing is an incredibly demanding and evolving sector.   Not only are nurses required to deliver care, based on the best available evidence, they are also expected to be fully knowledgeable regarding professional, ethical and legal issues which may relate to their practice and for which they may at some point be held accountable.   For this essay I will discuss the theme of communication as this plays an important role in all aspects of nursing care, whether verbal, non-verbal or written.   I will then consider professional, legal and ethical issues surrounding communication and relate them back, where possible, to the Eddie scenario that we looked at in our group sessions.   I will also look back reflectively and discuss how I believe I have personally developed as an accountable practitioner throughout the module.  

Accountability, according to Savage and Moore (2004) is an ambiguous, ever-changing term which often cannot be defined.   The Oxford English Dictionary, (2006) describe it as being responsible for ones actions and being able to explain them.   The NMC, (2008) develop this further by stating that nurses are personably accountable for their own practice which means that they are answerable for all their actions and omissions, regardless of advice from other professionals.   A further conjecture to this point is that registered practitioners are accountable for their actions as professionals at all times, whether on or off duty (Martin, 2004).   They are also accountable to the public, the profession, their colleagues and their employers (Dimond, 2008).

Professional accountability is the standards and frameworks which are set by governing bodies such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Code of Professional Conduct (2009).   This states that nurses hold a position of responsibility and other people rely on them.   Caulfield, (2005), asserts that

standards and frameworks enable the public to trust nursing staff as they feel that they are adhering to a...