Effective Delegation: Understanding Responsibility, Authority, and Accountability

Christine Mueller, Amy Vogelsmeier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The obligation to provide safe, quality care creates challenges and concerns when registered nurses (RNs) delegate duties to unlicensed assistive personnel. These challenges and concerns are magnified in today's health care environment of shrinking resources; patients with complex, chronic conditions; health care settings with high patient acuity rates; and the use of sophisticated technology. To make safe, effective delegation decisions, RNs must understand the responsibility, authority, and accountability related to delegation. Delegation decisions must be based on the fundamental principle of public protection. This article describes effective delegation by presenting the factors affecting delegation, explaining when and what an RN can delegate, and describing the delegation process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-27
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nursing Regulation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.


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