Ask the expert: Verify skills before delegating

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, May 8, 2009

This week, Debbie Buchwach, BSN, RN-BC, shares how to help nurses delegate tasks to the appropriate peer.

Q: How can I help nurses delegate tasks to the right team member?

A: Delegation is critical to time management and productivity. The decision to delegate occurs after a patient has been assessed by the registered nurse and the patient’s needs and condition are taken into consideration. The nurse prioritizes the patient’s needs, considers the patient’s condition, differentiates between nursing versus non-nursing tasks, and selects tasks to be delegated. Then, the nurse chooses the appropriate member of the team to assume the task.

Here are some questions to consider when matching delegated tasks with skill levels:

  • Are they licensed or unlicensed?
  • Are they in orientation?
  • How long have they worked in the role?
  • Have they been checked off on this particular skill?
  • Do they feel confident they can complete the task?
  • Do they need additional training/practice prior to completing the skill independently?

Have a question for our experts? Email your queries to Editor Cameran Erny at See your name in print and get the answers you’re looking for.

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