Blog spotlight: Setting expectations for accountability with staff

Nurse Leader Insider, March 30, 2009

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Nurse managers are in one of the most difficult roles in any organization. They must manage nursing units while supervising, leading, and mentoring nursing staff.

To be effective managers and to promote the organization’s goals of patient safety, patient satisfaction, and high-quality care, nurse managers rely on staff nurses to provide excellent patient care and to follow the organization’s policies and procedures. Nurse managers want staff nurses who are skilled clinicians and are driven to provide excellent care using critical thinking skills. They want staff nurses who are committed to providing excellent patient care through interdisciplinary practice, focusing on best practices and evidence-based practice. Nurse managers want staff nurses who value evidence-based practice and understand how to seek and utilize it.

When welcoming new nurses to your facility, consider sharing this first “cardinal rule” with them: When you leave this orientation classroom and come to your unit, I don’t want you to do anything unless you understand:

  • What you are doing
  • Why you are doing it
  • The effect it has on the world around you

Explain that for those who hold a license, this is called “safe practice” and is a requirement for how nurses practice at your hospital.

What steps do you take to set the expectation of accountability with your staff?

Editor’s note: This excerpt was adapted from HCPro’s new book Accountability in Nursing: Six Strategies to Build and Maintain a Culture of Commitment, which was written by Eileen Lavin Dohmann, RN, MBA, NEA-BC.

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