This information applies to all registered nurses and midwives in all spheres of practice and should be read in conjunction with The code: Standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives and midwives rules and standards.
The ability to delegate, assign tasks and supervise are essential competencies for all registered nurses and midwives working in all healthcare settings or sphere of practice. All decisions relating to delegation by registered nurses or midwives must be based on the fundamental principles of safety and public protection which are the underlying principles of regulation.
When nurses and midwives are considering which tasks and activities to delegate they should consider the following:
• the needs of the people in their care
• the stability of the people being cared for
• the complexity of the task being delegated
• the expected outcome of the delegated task
• the availability of resources to meet those needs
• and the judgment of the nurse or midwife.
Nurses and midwives are accountable for the decision to delegate care. A nurse or midwife should only delegate an aspect of care to a person who has had appropriate training and whom they deem competent to perform the task. When a nurse or midwife is delegating they must be assured that the person to whom they have delegated (the delegatee) fully understands the nature of the delegated task particularly in relation to what is expected of them. The delegatee should know their limitations and when to seek advice from the appropriate professional in the event that circumstances change.
If these conditions have been met and an aspect of care is delegated, the delagatee becomes accountable for their actions and decisions. However, the nurse or midwife remains accountable for the overall management of the person in their care.
Where another, such as an employer, has the authority to delegate an aspect of care, the employer becomes accountable for that delegation. However, in accordance with the code, the nurse or midwife must act without delay if they believe a colleague or anyone else may be putting someone at risk.
Inter regulatory information:
This information was updated May 2012.
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