A professional nurse has the responsibility to practice within his/her scope of care, calling upon his/her knowledge and skills to make decisions in the best interest of the patient.
The level of responsibility and accountabilitydepends on professional levels. The Charge Nurse has more responsibility then the staff nurse, the RN has more responsibility then the LPN, and therefore their levels of professional judgment and practice are different. Their levels of professional accountability are not different.
Professional nursing is based on altruism, integrity, accountability and social justice. Judgments and practice that are based with those ethical values will always be in the best interest of the patient, no matter what the professional level.
The definition of altruism: individuals have the ethical obligation to serve others without self-interest. The nurse who comes from an altruistic place will make decisions that are in the best interest of the patient. A patient advocate.
Accountable to whom?
You are accountable to:
- Your patients, through a duty of care, underpinned by a common-law duty to promote safety and efficiency, and legal responsibility through civil law; - Your employer, as defined by your contract of employment and job description; - Your profession, as stated in the relevant codes of conduct; - The public (UKCC, 1992; Dimond, 1995).
Accountable to your employer
UK law stipulates that all workers must be issued with a written contract of employment within 13 weeks of starting a job. Your contract could include: - What was agreed at your interview;
- Any document you have signed;
- Any implied terms of your employment.
Implied terms are those that may not have been discussed but which the court could assume to exist unless there is evidence to the contrary. For example, it is an implied term of a contract of employment that an employee will obey the reasonable instructions of the employer and will use all care and...
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