Professional Accountability in Nursing.


This post will explain how to write a successful nursing essay on professional accountability in nursing. We will look at what professionalism in nursing means and some of its benefits to nursing care (learn how to write a nursing care plan here).

What is Professional Accountability in Nursing?

According to the American Nurses Association (ANA, 2015), nursing accountability requires nurses to be answerable for their actions and act according to a code of ethical conduct. Such ethical conduct includes abiding by the principles of beneficence, respect for human dignity, veracity, fidelity, loyalty, and patient autonomy. In short, to demonstrate professional accountability in nursing, a nurse must be able to handle ethical dilemmas in nursing care well.

Components of professional accountability in nursing.

The term “accountability” within health care is complex and is probably best viewed as having three components.

These 3 components of accountability are namely:

  1. An individual’s professional accountability for the quality of their work and commitment to doing their best.
  2. The accountability of health professionals within the organization in which they work
  3. Accountability with others for the organization’s performance and for provision of services

Other ways of showing professional accountability include learning best practices and advocating for patients, taking responsibility for your mistakes and learning from constructive feedback, and serving as a positive role model.


4 Main Areas of Accountability in Nursing.

There are 4 main pillars of professional accountability in nursing.

These 4 pillars include:

  1. The first pillar ‐ professional accountability
  2. Second pillar – ethical accountability
  3. The third pillar – legal accountability
  4. The fourth pillar – is employment accountability.

Importance of Professional Accountability in Nursing.

There are several reasons why professional accountability is essential in nursing practice. The following are some of the reasons why nurses must strive to show accountability in their professional practice:

  1. Accountability in nursing contributes to the development of trustworthy relationships between patients and nurses, which can have a good impact on patient outcomes. It is simple to form relationships with people who are devoted to hard work and accept responsibility for their actions.


  1. Professional accountability increases your chances of success in your present job and future professional activities since it fosters dependability and integrity. Nurses who hold themselves accountable for their actions are more likely to succeed. Employers reward nurses who have high levels of integrity, which is an important aspect of accountability in nursing practice. When you accept personal accountability for yourself and your actions, your employer, team members, and patients know they can rely on you.


  1. A nurse culture of responsibility prevents the waste of important healthcare resources. Using healthcare resources for their intended purpose is one method to demonstrate accountability in nursing. Maintaining equipment, delivering prescriptions as directed, and recording any supplies used in patient care all demonstrate accountability to your patients and company. When nurses choose to use resources properly, they help to lower healthcare expenses, making healthcare more accessible for all patients. On the other hand, nurses who fail to recognize the worth of healthcare resources frequently make decisions that limit access to critical services.


  1. Nurses who exercise accountability can help to improve the reputation of the facility where they work. Patients are frequently requested to complete patient satisfaction questionnaires regarding the treatment they get in hospitals. When a patient is pleased with the treatment she receives, she is more likely to provide good feedback, which boosts the reputation of the healthcare team and institution. However, one nurse who makes poor judgments or fails to practice responsibility can harm the reputation of the whole healthcare team and the facility as a whole.

Ways of Promoting Professional Accountability in Nursing.

The following are ways of promoting professional accountability in nursing:

  1. Know about your professional role responsibilities and organizational goals
  2. Provide guidance and direction on how to achieve the organizational goals and objectives.
  3. Holding professionals/nurses accountable for their behaviour.
  4. Building a culture of accountability and responsibility in the healthcare facility.


To conclude, as stated by NMC (2008) ‘you must act as an advocate for those in your care, helping them to access relevant health and social care, information and support’. This is how you can show professionalism and professional accountability in nursing.

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