Date of Conferral
David O. Anderson
A better understanding of task allocation for the registered nurse (RN) within the scope of the multidisciplinary care team model is required. Patients, healthcare staff, and medical facilities that utilize RNs in multidisciplinary care teams will benefit from improved role identification. A multidisciplinary care team consists of a variety of health care professionals and without role identification, confusion, miscommunication, and negative patient outcomes can occur. A literature review demonstrated that a gap in knowledge existed related to task allocation and role identification of RNs within a multidisciplinary care team. The purpose of this study was to evaluate RNs’ scope of practice within a multidisciplinary care team of an acute care medical center and identify a new theory regarding RNs’ perceptions of their role. A grounded theory approach was used to explore and reveal these perceived role identifications through the lens of the accountability theory. The research questions and the guided interview explored RNs’ self-perceived role identifications that have shaped RNs’ expectations of their scope within the multidisciplinary care team model. The results found nurses to be experts of patient care and that the nursing role has a 24/7 responsibility while being the closest, most personal role to the patient, thus, the RN feels accountable for all the needs to the patient, even if the needs or actions are outside of the nursing assigned role or tasks. From these results emerged a new theory, the perpetual accountability theory. Identified recommendations regarding RNs’ roles and their utilization within the multidisciplinary care teams allow a positive social change of greater success at delivering best practices and optimum patient outcomes.