Midwifery practice is based on utilizing the concepts of accountability and responsibility. Along with providing care for patients and monitoring the process of treatment, nurse practitioners perform other duties, such as educating family members, conducting research, making records, and more. While remaining responsible for the tasks’ completion, nurses also give account for the decisions they make, which proves that their actions are assessed from two different perspectives.
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Accountability presupposes giving account for one’s decisions and being answerable to oneself and the people involved for all actions taken in a clinical setting. Leonenko and Drach‐Zahavy (2016) define this concept as the “assessment of risks or benefits of acting accountably” (p. 2718). To be accountable, one needs to act under the code of medical ethics and develop the required moral principles, which go beyond the usual perception of duties.
Responsibility is the criterion covering both the scope of nurses’ tasks and the approach taken to accomplish those. If a nurse is looking to be promoted, he or she must be ready to take the extra workload and have more tasks (Gabrielsson, Sävenstedt, & Olsson, 2016). What makes the two discussed concepts distinct is that responsibilities are more focused on resolving direct, educational, and administrative duties rather than dealing with ethical aspects of the matter.
In a conclusion, both responsibility and accountability are the integral constituents of a nurse’s work. Accountability involves giving the answer for all actions and considering medical ethics, while responsibility focuses more on resolving professional, educational, and administrative duties. The range of responsibilities usually depends on the position one occupies. Accountability, however, does not have this dependency since it is mostly linked to the established values and moral principles.
Gabrielsson, S., Sävenstedt, S., & Olsson, M. (2016). Taking personal responsibility: Nurses’ and assistant nurses’ experiences of good nursing practice in psychiatric inpatient care. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 25(5), 434-443.
Leonenko, M., & Drach‐Zahavy, A. (2016). “You are either out on the court, or sitting on the bench”: Understanding accountability from the perspectives of nurses and nursing managers. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72(11), 2718-2727.