Date of Paper/Work

5-2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing

Department

Nursing

Advisor(s)

VaLinda Pearson

Abstract

Developing economic rationalism is putting more low cost unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP) at the bedside. They are employed to perform repetitive, low-risk patient care activities that in the past were routinely done exclusively by the registered nurse (RN). This new model of practice is considered the viable option or alternative to care provided primarily by the RN, whereby the demand for UAP is only going to grow (Kleinman & Saccomanno, 2006). Most nurse graduates and practicing nurses lack the expertise to delegate direct care to unlicensed personnel. Registered nurses practicing in a variety of health care settings report a lack of knowledge, skills, and attitudes for delegation decision-making skills. This is a result of inadequate education on the subject during nursing school. The purpose of this paper is to present the educational gaps, barriers to delegation, and recommendations for improvement in teaching and practicing delegation. Nursing education needs to teach delegation at the onset of entry into the program and establish a curriculum with specific competencies related to delegation. The use of a conceptual framework and delegation decision-making model guides nurses in making delegation decisions. A professional nurse who lacks the knowledge, comprehension, and competence to delegate care appropriately not only puts the patient at risk for injury, but also puts his or hers own license to practice in jeopardy. The ability to delegate effectively must become a universal competency and fundamental skill of the registered nurse (RN).

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