Reducing Liability in Nursing Delegation – Care Example

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"Reducing Liability in Nursing Delegation" is a great example of a paper on care. Nursing delegation is a complex process requiring sound clinical judgment and accountability for the delegated task by the nurse (National Leadership and Innovations Agency for Healthcare [NLIAH], 2010). Delegation is perceived to be effective if a nurse understands the concepts of authority, responsibility accountability, and the state’ s nurse practice act. There are a couple of areas of heightened potential liability in the practice of nursing delegation. Aiken (2004) argues that these selected areas include, “ failure to properly delegate; failure to check of staff on skill levels; failure to perform supervisory duties; failure to properly train or educate staff; failure to properly orient staff to the unit; failure to provide proper patient care; and failing to adequately document and rectify nursing shortages on a unit. ” Risk in relation to nursing delegation is a very sensitive matter to nursing practitioners.

Given that nurses assume responsibility for the work delegated to their delegatees, there is thus need to exercise due diligence when delegating duties. Aiken (2004) argues, “ The Nurse Executive has the primary responsibility for establishing and maintaining reasonable standards of care, and ensuring that staff members know, understand and follow the standards, provide each nursing unity with updated policy and procedure manuals, carefully distribute personnel, and strive to match the needs of the patients with the skills of the nurse. ” In addition, it is imperative that, before delegation nurses observe all the above recommendations to avoid personal and employer liability. Working as an RN nurse, I decided to delegate my duties to a caregiver to help me out attend to my patients.

I decided to delegate because, I realized that the processes of administering medication were simple and straightforward involving subcutaneous insulin injections, routine trach suctioning and care, and straight urinary catheterization. However, complex processes that involve situations where evaluation and assessment is required, a resident’ s state is unstable, an assessment should be done before performing an action, and the cases involving intravenous (IV) medications or intramuscular (IM) injections that require evaluation and assessment before the action is performed restrict nurse delegation. Thus, I was obligated to delegate given the circumstances of the processes involved. As an RN understanding the nursing practice act of my state, I assessed the kind of task I was delegating and found out it allowed delegation.

Either the RN task delegated commensurate with experience, training, and education of the student’ s health. After this analysis and considerable critical thinking, with reference to the state’ s nursing practice act, procedures, and policies, I made the decision to delegate, however, after supervision and receiving feedback. (Brunt, 2001). argues that, “ the areas of nursing most vulnerable today are anesthesia and midwifery runs in ob (l and d), those working solely in monitoring capacities (fetal heart, telemetry, etc. ), and medication administration” Improper delegation of nursing duties is prosecutable before the law courts if a patient files a lawsuit.

Fines can also be imposed on the nurse by the OPMG for medical malpractices and hence criminal ramifications proceedings instituted against the RN. Proper delegation of nursing duties can help minimize patient risks such as complications, stress, and lawsuits that can be filed against RN professionals e. g. for negligence that resulted in complications. Therefore, the delegation process must follow the procedures and policies of the nurse practice act, and all rights considered before any attempt is made to delegate duties.

It is thus imperative that the NCSBN comes up with rules and regulations, which should define the responsibilities of each party involved in the delegation process in order to minimize the risks associated with nursing delegation.


Aiken, T., (2004). Legal, Ethical, and Political Issues in Nursing.

Brunt, B., (2001). The Importance of Lifelong Learning in Managing Risks. ANA Continuing Education: The Nursing Risk Management Series. Retrieved from

National Leadership and Innovations Agency for Healthcare. (2010). All Wales Guidelines for Delegation.

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