Developing Delegation Skills

Alice Weydt, MS, RN



One of the most complex nursing skills is that of delegation. It requires sophisticated clinical judgment and final accountability for patient care. Effective delegation is based on one's state nurse practice act and an understanding of the concepts of responsibility, authority, and accountability. Work Complexity Assessment, a program that defines and quantifies various levels of care complexity based on the knowledge and skill required to perform the work, has demonstrated that methods of patient assignment and staff scheduling that support consistency increase what could be delegated to ancillary personnel by using the more effective assignment patterns. The author begins this article by discussing delegation and the related concepts of responsibility, accountability, and authority. Next factors to consider in the delegation process, namely nursing judgment, interpersonal relationships, and assignment patterns are presented. The author concludes by sharing how to develop delegation skills.

Purpose/Goal: To enhance RN comprehension of delegation in order to meet patient care needs in an environment of shrinking resources.


1. Clarify assignment and delegation.
2. Differentiate responsibility, accountability, and authority.
3. Describe how unit-based, pairing, and partnering models affect the delegation potential.
4. Describe strategies to strengthen delegation skills.


Alice Weydt, MS, RN, has more than thirty years of experience working in acute care settings and leading nursing and interdisciplinary teams in a variety of acute care settings. As she has worked to improve patient care processes and outcomes, she has focused considerable attention on developing healthy interpersonal relationships and delivery systems that span the care continuum. She currently serves as Director of Patient Care Services at Arcadia Medical Center, Arcadia, Wisconsin, and adjunct faculty with Creative Health Care Management. She earned her Master's degree in Healthcare Administration from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and her BSN from Montana State University in Boozeman, Montana. Ms. Weydt is also a graduate of the University of Minnesota Independent Study Program in Patient Care Administration.

The planners and author of this CNE activity have disclosed no relevant financial relationships with any commercial companies pertaining to this CNE activity.

Contact Hours: 1.64

Expiration Date: 3/31/2014


Member Price: $0.00
Non-Member Price: $20.00

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