Art of Delegation

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In nursing, delegation is extremely important to promote cost-efficient care. Registered nurses can delegate to both licensed and non-licensed personnel. In Ohio, The State Board of Nursing gives clear guidelines on what can be delegated and to whom it can be delegated to. However a key point to remember with delegation is that while the task has been delegated, the delegator remains accountable and responsible for this task. Within the art of delegation the National Council of State Boards of Nursing recognizes The Five Rights of Delegation that must be identified to ensure safe and legal delegation; these include the right task, the right circumstance, the right person, the right direction/communication, and the right supervision.

The right task refers to the delegator ensuring prior to delegation that the task is appropriate for the individual that is being delegated to. According the Joint Statement on Delegation by the ANA and NCSBN the task must be preformed able to be performed with a specific sequence of events, have a predictable outcome, have minimal risk of harm to the patient, and have minimal variation in how the task is preformed patient to patient.

The right circumstance indicates that one must assess the situation prior to delegation. Having a non-licensed personnel complete vital signs may or may not be appropriate based on the other circumstances surrounding that patient. Prior to delegating a task, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing has determined that the nurse must first assess health/condition status, ensure the complexity matches competency and available supervision before delegating task.

The right person is needed to be assessed. Many organizations have different tasks that they may or may not allow unlicensed personnel to complete and delegation must also be in line with the agencies policies. Once an organization has reviewed state laws and determined what tasks are appropriate to be delegated they must test...
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