Accountability was an integral part of phenomenological descriptions of 24 patients' experience of having surgery and 24 nurses' understanding of their experiences. Patients and nurses discussed two major elements, knowledge and presence, although the emphasis on categories within these elements differed. Within the element of knowledge, nurses emphasized lacking knowledge, using professional knowledge, teaching, and leadership. Patients talked most about receiving teaching and individualized knowledge. Nurses also emphasized structure and process, and patients emphasized outcomes. Within the element of presence, nurses talked most about environmental barriers and interaction, and patients emphasized attentive attitude. This view of accountability may help restructure work environments to allow nurses to meet the needs that patients perceive themselves as having.
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