University of Central Florida
ABSTRACT: Delegation refers to the practice of a registered nurse assigning certain tasks and activities to other people while still maintaining responsibility for the actions of the others to whom responsibility has been delegated. The act of delegating assumes that the delegator has a certain amount of trust in the person to whom they delegate. Additionally, quality communication is paramount in maintaining superior patient care when delegating tasks to others. One signifigant obstacle to delegation is ensuring that the proper tasks are delegated to the appropriate individuals. The organizational structure and leadership of the unit should prevent delegation to unqualified personel by having clear scope of practice guidelines. The economic implications on the nursing profession and healthcare in general, also affect the act of delegation.
Key words: delegation, leadership, organizational structure, responsibility
A Discussion of Various Perspectives on Delegation in Nursing
In general, "delegation" in the nursing profession refers to the practice of a registered nurse assigning certain tasks and activities to other people while still maintaining responsibility for the actions of the others to whom responsibility has been delegated. As Cipriano (2010) puts it, "Delegation is a universal nursing skill. With the looming world-wide nursing shortage, any change in skill mix will undoubtedly lead to an increase in the amount of delegation of certain aspects of care". Delegation is thus an integral component of the general organizational structure of nursing practice, and it can only be expected to become even more prominent in coming times. The issue of delegation is extremely important for the nursing profession because it has strong implications for the nature of effective leadership; and consequently, it also has political implications.
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