Delegation is a term that means assigning certain authority or responsibility to a person to carry out that task but the person delegating still maintains the responsibility of the delegated task (Wikipedia, 2010). In the nursing world, delegation is a skill that requires knowledge of what a registered nurse (RN) can delegate and who they can delegate to. It is a competency both recognized by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Delegation is a complex skill that is best learned through working with other RN’s. In order for an RN to delegate, he or she must know their “states nurse practice acts, institutions policies and procedures, and the institutions job description for assistive personnel” (Potter and Perry, 2005, p. 379).Role of the Nurse in Delegation of tasks
In order for the RN to delegate a task to a nursing assistive personnel (NAP) or another RN, he or she must know the five rights of delegation which includes the right task, right circumstance, right person, right directions and communications, and right supervision and evaluation (ANA, 2009).
A right task is delegated when the task being delegated is within the NAP or another RN’s scope of practice. The person being delegated to that task must require very little supervision and must be competent at the assigned task. A nurse can assign the NAP to take vital signs from another patient of his or her but not assign him or her to discontinue an IV. If a nurse is in the middle of an important task (i.e, start another IV from a patient whose IV line had infiltrated), she can ask or assign another RN, if that RN is not busy with her own task, to give her other patients their scheduled medications.