Accepted Paper:

Beyond the ability to (ac)count. On the accountability in nursing practices   

Authors:

Ute Kalender (Charite)
Christine Holmberg (Charite - Universitätsmedizin - Virchow Klinikum)

Paper short abstract:

The paper draws on ethnographic data collected in study centers of the German National Cohort Study and explores the multi-layeredness of digital care work: Such work has to be done by study nurses to produce good epidemiological data.

Paper long abstract:

In epidemiological cohort studies the demand for accountability emerges at different points: The initiators and representatives are made accountable by donors of the study like ministries, federal state governments, research foundations and others. The anticipated outcomes must be accountable for coming health policies. The study design and the data quality must be accountable for prospective epidemiological research: The employed researchers are accountable for other researchers that want to use the data in the future. Finally, accountability is an essential component of probands' safety.

Crucial linchpins for the accountability in epidemiological studies are study nurses. They are made accountable for the proband's wellbeing, for the proband's will to participate in the study - often over a long period and at the same time for the quality of the collected data. Study nurses are not only answerable to themselves and others for their own actions - the other is also a double one. It is simultaneously the proband and the good measurement result.

My paper asks how exactly accountability manifests itself in nursing practice and tries to decipher accountability as account-ability - as a specific, multifaceted and maybe in itself contradictory type of care work. Account-ability then shall be used as a term that explores the nature of digital care work in which the self as well as the other is at the same time human and non-human.

Panel T137
From person to population and back: exploring accountability in public health