Delegation in Healthcare

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What is the purpose of delegation in healthcare?

April 30, 2012
Patrice Ross

What is the purpose of delegation in healthcare?
Delegation is defined as the transfer of responsibility for the performance of an activity from one individual to another individual. The purpose of delegation is designed to provide overarching principles and guidelines for practice situations where registered nurses delegate tasks safely to other medical teams such as LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses), CNAs(Certified Nursing Assistants) or other unlicensed personnel (Hansten & Jackson, 2009). There is more nursing to do than nurses can handle and this is where good delegation can relieve some of the burden while working together for good patient outcomes. Delegating is a process that can result in safe and effective nursing care if used appropriately. The benefit of delegation within the nurse’s realm is the ability for the nurse to attend to more complex and/or a multitude of patient care needs. The accountability remains with the assigning nurse. The transfer of responsibility does not enable the original nurse to walk away from a responsibility; it allows the nurse to maximize the effect of the team. The RN (Registered Nurse) uses the ANA (American Nurses Association) principles of delegation. These include the right task, under the right circumstances, to the right person, with the right directions and communication, and under the right supervision and evaluation. The delegated instructions must be clear, concise, correct, and complete (Joint Statement on Delegation, 2005). The delegating nurse is responsible to empower one to act for another within that individual’s scope of practice. This empowerment allows for those who are best fitted for a task to perform that task to fully benefit the patient. This procedure ensures that the optimal level of care is being delivered in the proper manner for the allotted period of time.

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