The American Nurses Association (2015) Codeof Ethics defines accountability as being “answerableto oneself and others for one’s own actions.” Underaccountability, nurses are held legally accountable for any actionsand decisions they make in the workplace and any others that they maydelegate. Their actions are guided by a code of ethics grounded inmoral principles of fidelity, respect for dignity and selfdetermination of patients (American Nurses Association, 2015).Previously, nurses’ accountability was to physicians. This isbecause nurses were viewed as basically meant to fulfill aphysician’s orders. However, Florence Nightgale’s ethicalprecepts set a stage for a new perception of nursing as an art andscience. This saw accountability of nursing practice shift from thephysician to the patient. Prior to the 1960, nursing was focused onphysicians but this changed to place focus on patients (Butts &Rich, 2015). The next priority in terms of accountability falls tothe employer in terms as defined by the employment contract and jobdescription. In the current case, the APN is required to performhistories and physicals, write preoperative orders, and order andinterpret preoperative lab studies on patients admitted to short-staysurgery. The next accountability priority falls to physician. In thisparticular case, the nurse’s job description is linked to servingthe physicians that request the particular service as provided for bythe institution. The next priority falls to the profession asarticulated by the nursing professional code of ethics. The otherprimary responsibilities of nursing is promoting health andpreventing illness which somehow covers the entire community. On theoverall, accountability for nurses centers on competence which todaylays emphasis more on the personality, morality and virtues of nursesas opposed to professional qualifications.
American NursingAssociation (2015). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretivestatements.
Butts, J. Rich, K.(2015). Ethics in professional nursing practice. New York: Jones &Bartlett.