Delegation in Nursing CareIntroductionThis essay explores the role of delegation as part of health care leadership and management strategies that help an institution to achieve effective health care delivery. The aim of the study is to consider the reasons for delegating, delegation and supervision of unlicensed health care worker and the characteristics of effective delegation. Further, the essay will discuss the role and responsibilities of the UHCW in a clinical setup. The entire discussion is hedged around the analysis of the clinical nursing scenario involving a newly graduated registered nurse (RN), an unlicensed health care worker (UHCW) and the surgeon in charge of a busy surgical ward.
DelegationReasons for Delegating Ellis and Hartley discuss effective health care leadership and management and conclude that a health care leader’s ability to lead, guide and efficiently delegate the duties in a clinical setup are very essential skills if there will be a productive, effective and efficient health care services delivery in that setup (2009, pp. 42 - 48). One reason why it is important for healthcare leaders to delegate responsibility is to allow junior members adequate time to learn and gains experience in the performance of the relevant tasks in a progressive process of gaining expertise (Marquis, 2006, pp.
47-61). This will apply for the registered but newly graduated nurse in the case scenario. Secondly, delegation frees the leader’s time to execute other more important tasks. According to Huber (2006), a health care manager’s job ‘is to coordinate and integrate resources’ (pp. 55), the resources constituting manpower, equipments and finances (pp. 50). The surgeon in the case scenario cannot afford to be checking and recording vital signs for all the patients in the ward at a time when he is supposed to be in the theatre.
Delegation will free his or her time to perform other more important tasks that the juniors cannot. It is important that a leader manages his or her time effectively and which cannot be done by doing all the work themselves or being present in every situation. By delegating, a healthcare leader frees a lot of time and exploits the talent and abilities of the nurses in the establishment fully. Thirdly, delegation provides the leaders with a back up in times when they cannot execute certain tasks such as when patients require emergency help in the absence of the surgeon.
Delegation helps build a work team that shares the responsibility of the workplace such that, in a healthcare setup such as the ward in the provided scenario, each of the nurses and the surgeon make up a team that compliments each other on the delivery of healthcare services. Finally, delegation provides a criterion of training and induction where the more experienced staff helps to coach the new staff members in particular routines in readiness for their taking over the responsibilities.
Delegation and Supervision of Unlicensed Health Care WorkersUHCW supervision in health care settings is an active process through which senior members of staff direct, guide and influence outcomes of patient care. In contemporary clinical setups, the registered nurse is given the authority to delegate and supervise unregistered health care workers (Shostek 2009, pp. 56–65). Ongoing restructuring, downsizing and optimizing personnel effectiveness in healthcare organizations has seen the introduction of cost-reduction efforts such as having a limited number of registered nurses complimented by unlicensed assistive personnel (UHCW’s) in the provision of patient care (Shostek 2009, pp.
56–65). In such scenarios, the RN is put over the UHCW’s and given the mandate to delegate patient care duties to the UHCW’s as he or she determines appropriate (Shostek 2009, pp. 56–65).