Essay on Accountability, Responsibility and Delegation in Nursing

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The aim of this essay is to explore and define accountability and responsibility and how this will be applied using the perspective of a newly qualified nurse. There will also be a discussion surrounding delegation with the addition of an action plan which will provide strategies that can be implemented to enable me to become an accountable and successful delegator.

Accountability and responsibility within nursing are considered to be critical issues and are included in the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives as important principles. Although different principles, the concept of responsibility and accountability are interlinked, however, they are often used interchangeably. Siviter (2008) states that accountability implies the acceptance of ownership whatever the outcome of the task at hand. They go further to state that responsibility signifies an obligation to perform a task. Once I become a newly qualified nurse, there are a number of people to whom I shall become accountable: I will have a duty of care to the patients whom I will be looking after, my employer who will expect me to work safely whilst I carry out the duties required of me, and I shall be accountable to the public. Additionally, I shall be accountable to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the governing board that has developed the code of conduct with which all nurses and midwives must comply to minimize any potential risks in nursing practice.

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During my placements as a student, I have experienced delegation and have been required to delegate, on occasions, but only limited to my own capabilities. However, as a newly qualified nurse, delegation is a task that I will have to become increasingly confident and efficient with. Delegation can be defined as a process in which responsibility and authority for the accomplishment of a task is given to another individual who accepts the responsibility and authority. The significance of delegation as an important skill in nursing must not be overemphasized.

As a newly qualified nurse, it is important that I am aware that I am not able to carry out all tasks on my own. If attempted could lead to serious errors being made, it could lead to stress, eventually leading to burnout, reinforcing the importance of delegating to other staff members. To ensure that I am fully aware of what is expected of me when I am delegating, I have included in the action plan the five rights of delegation which should assist me when making my delegation choices. The NMC (2018) state the importance of when delegating tasks to take into consideration the delegates’ level of competency and ensure that there is adequate supervision. Once I have delegated a task, I remain accountable for that task, therefore I need to ensure the colleague to whom I have delegated to has the appropriate level of competency.

When done correctly, delegation can have many benefits, however, Sullivan and Decker (2009) identify that there can also be barriers that prevent given tasks from being completed correctly. These can include a lack of resources, poor communication, failure to plan adequately, or the delegate’s unwillingness to complete the task. It will be my duty as a newly qualified nurse to work around these barriers effectively, even when some may be out of my control. An example of this would be: for communication to be effective, ensure that all instructions given to my colleague are clear and that they understand what is expected of them to complete the task competently. This complies with the NMC (2018) which states that delegates clearly understand the instructions given.

Weydt (2010) states that for delegation to be effective, there is a requirement for competency in both management and leadership. Therefore, it is important that I, as a newly qualified nurse, understand the various approaches to leadership and employ the correct one for whichever circumstance I am faced with at the time. It is also important that I am aware of my strengths and weaknesses and acknowledge these. Being able to identify my weaknesses will allow me to delegate these tasks to colleagues who are more competent.

Summing up, this essay has discussed responsibility, accountability, and delegation. In addition to this, an action plan has been created to assist with the continuing improvement of my delegation skills.

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Essay on Accountability, Responsibility and Delegation in Nursing. (2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
“Essay on Accountability, Responsibility and Delegation in Nursing.” Edubirdie, 15 Nov. 2023,
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