In the civilized and fast industrializing word, there are mounting duties and responsibilities each and every day. There is always the pressure to meet some deadline or finish some contract that one won within a given period that the commitment was made. This call for a helping hand and sharing of the duties among the people concerned and are capable of handling the duties.
In the bid to delegate duties, there is a lot of care that must be taken so that the delegation is properly done. Even so, there are several obstacles that are experienced especially in the heath care department. This paper will be focusing on the best possible ways of delegating duties within the health care department and looks at the possible challenges that may come up and how to minimize or eliminate these barriers in duty delegation in the nursing department.
What is delegation and who do you delegate tasks to?
Delegation is defined as the grant of authority by the directly involved party (delegator) to another party who was not directly concerned (delegatee) for an agreed purpose (Business Dictionary, 2011). Merriam Webster (2011) defines it as the act of one to do something or act on behalf of another.
Tasks are usually delegated to people who are in the same department and have some basic knowledge of the duty that is involved. In the health care profession, there is always delegation to the junior staff that has not had long-term service and is still undergoing training and orientation so as to help them get more familiar in the hands on approach to the duties and responsibilities that is entailed in the health care. In the health care field, delegation assists the trainees to apply what they learnt in the nursing school into the real life application. It also helps people lessen the burden that would otherwise be on one individual and cost the patients a great deal. When the delegation is done, the burden is made lighter hence every patient is catered for in equal measure and in good time.
How you determine if delegation is appropriate or inappropriate?
It has been a tricky affair especially in the health care and nursing circles on just how safely and appropriately can delegation be done without jeopardizing the health of the recipients. There are a few things that have to be looked at to determine whether the correct and appropriate delegation ahs been done in accordance with the profession demands. The National Council of States Boards of Nursing (1995) in one of their National Council Position Paper of 1995 had several bench marks on the issue of delegation of duties in the health care profession as numerated below.
A delegation is only appropriate if it is done by a licensed nurse or licensed health care professional in the concerned field. If the person delegating the duty is not licensed, then the delegation is inappropriate.
The fundamental guiding principle in delegation must and has to remain to be based on the ultimate protection of the public's health, safety and welfare. If it is for any other purpose like absconding duty or commercializing the service then it is inappropriate.
There are guidelines from the Boards of Nursing as to how delegation should be done and if these guidelines are not followed, then the delegation is inappropriate.
A delegation of duty is also only appropriate if the licensed nurse or health practitioner is in the full know and confession of the taking ultimate responsibility and accountability for the constant assessment of the nursing care that has been delegated.
A licensed nurse or health practitioner must be actively involved in the process of delegation decisions for these delegations to be appropriate otherwise they will be doomed inappropriate.
A delegation can only be appropriate if the delegator is in the full knowledge that the delegation is not meant to replace his expertise as a licensed nurse to the unlicensed assistive personnel. This means he will have to still contribute the largest portion in terms of experience and competence.
In the process of delegation, it is of fundamental significance to note that there are other sensitive areas in the health care that cannot be delegated such as the health care specialist's knowledge of the patient, evaluation of the patient as well as assessing and nursing decisions about the patient will remain to be of the specialist.
Any delegated duty to unlicensed assistive person cannot be passed further down and be re-delegated to other unlicensed personnel since this will make it inappropriate delegation at that point.
It is also worth to note that all delegation must be done within the confines of the established standards of practice, procedures and policies of the health care profession without diversion.
What are the steps in effective delegation?
When delegating duties, it is appropriate to have a logical and well planned out steps or procedure to ensure the delegation is appropriately done and the result acquired as envisioned. These steps include the following as proposed by Michelle Randall (2010):
(a). Prepare; here the delegator will have to thoroughly think of the task and the limits and scope that the task to be delegated has. Look at all the stipulated guidelines and make the task abundantly clear to avoid any ambiguity or way outs due to grey areas.
(b). Assign; here the delegator will hand over the instructions with accompanying supporting financial and material provisions. There can be a short coaching or orientation if need be. Here the delegator will explain the task and set the expectations that he has of the assistive personnel. The delegator must also have an open door policy at this stage.
(c). Confirm understanding; here the delegator has to confirm with all the concerned assistive personnel if they have understood the requirements of the task ahead. It is worth asking them if they fell sufficiently equipped for the task that is ahead.
(d). Commitment; the delegator should then ensure that he has successfully handed over the task to the assistive personnel and that they have not just received it but committed themselves to accomplishing it as well.
(e). Avoid 'delegating back'; the idea of the assistive personnel in the health care sector giving back to the manager the responsibilities delegated to them is common. In an effective delegation, there should be an avoidance of this as much as possible. The manager should instead walk through the encountered challenge with the assistive personnel.
(f). Accountability; the delegator must ensure that there is constant communication with the assistive personnel on the progress of the delegated responsibilities. This is to avoid catastrophe on the patients or disappointment at the end of the whole process.
Identify three common barriers to delegation and steps that the leader or manager can take to avoid the barriers or minimize their effect.
There are a number of barriers to the process of delegation some of which are outlined by Human Resource Knowledge (2009) as below:
(a). Insecurity; there is always a feeling of inferiority among the managers in the delegation process. There can emerge a general fear that the assistive personnel can do a better job hence affect the overall appraisal of the manager himself. To avoid this, the manager should decide which tasks should be delegated and assign himself those that he feels are sensitive so as to make him feel he is till in control.
(b). Confusion; there is a tendency in the health care sector of lack of clear direction on whose prerequisite responsibility it is to handle challenges and even take responsibility of the end result in the delegation process. This makes it hard for managers to delegate responsibilities to other junior staff since there is a fear of the handling of the last result.…