The artful skill of nursing delegation is one that can take years of experience to master. It involves transferring responsibility from one individual to another, while retaining accountability for the outcomes.
Delegation often causes a new grad RN to feel hesitant in giving responsibility to unlicensed personnel, resulting in poor time management and overwhelming workloads, to name a few.
To help new grad RNs better manage their duties, here 5 strategies for safe and effective delegation:
Decide when delegation is needed
Delegation can begin after the RN has assessed the patient, and the condition and needs of the patient have been considered. The RN will prioritize the patient’s needs based on their condition, and differentiate between nursing and non-nursing tasks.
Determine appropriate skill levels
It’s up to an RN to choose the appropriate person for the task. It is essential that RNs need to know the skill level of each team member to match the assignment appropriately. One easy way to accomplish his task is by getting to know your co-workers. Here are some questions you may want to ask to help you feel more confident about your decision.
Is this person licensed or unlicensed?
How long has this person worked within their role?
Has this person been validated competently perform the task?
Does the person feel confident that they can perform the task?
Does the person need additional training or instruction to complete the task independently?
Use clear communication
In order for any task to be effectively delegated, RNs must give clear, concise and detailed instructions. This includes the objective, any identified limits, and expected outcomes of the tasks. Also, an RN must ensure that the person to assume the task can complete them within the expected time frame established, as this person may be working with several other patients. Finally, RNs must always ask if there are any questions or concerns, allowing sufficient time for the person to provide feedback.
Supervise and give feedback
To ensure the task has been completed per policy, RNs must offer direct supervision and feedback as needed. They must also be available in case an unexpected outcome occurs. Do not assume that the task was completed without validating it for yourself. Be sure to build stronger relationships with your nursing support staff by identifying areas of success and offering suggestions for improvement. And don’t forget to say “thank you”—it goes a long way!
Evaluate the outcomes
To ensure that the patient received the care needed and that the team worked together efficiently, RNs must evaluate the delegation process upon task completion. If an unexpected outcome occurs, it is essential that RNs develop a plan to correct the deficiencies if possible.
As you hit the floor running, please remember that learning to delegate effectively takes time and practice. Reflecting on the process of delegation and identifying areas for improvement will help you develop this important skill.