Delegation is a daunting task, but it’s an essential part of nursing, and it’s very rewarding if done correctly. It’s what makes you and your team more organized and efficient in delivering care to your patients. To make the process easier, here are six strategies you can start with.
1. Get to know your team.If it’s your first time working in a unit or with a new team, it’s wise if you can get to know them first. Asking them questions, such as when they first started and how long they’ve been working in the area, is a good way to start building a positive working relationship. You can also use it as a way to break the ice and to make your CNAs feel valued and important.
2. Make them feel involved.Assigning tasks aren’t limited to asking your team to perform specific tasks. You have to exert more effort in making them feel more involved with the health care of your patients. It may seem unnecessary at first but, in reality, it will be beneficial not only to you and your team but your patients as well.
“Each start of the shift, I make it a point to discuss what my plans are for the whole 8 hours. It’s my habit to let everyone know who needs to get turned and when who’s in line for discharge and who’s at risk for seizure or fall. This practice enables everyone to feel like they belong to one team with one goal in mind- quality patient care,” a veteran nurse shared.
3. Help them learn.Your CNA’s skills when it comes to prioritization may not be as advanced as yours. They may react inefficiently, or even get confused, particularly when faced with too many tasks to perform. As a leader, it is your responsibility to understand and help everyone on your team to grow. You can redirect them in case they erroneously prioritized their tasks or guide them whenever they feel overwhelmed with the work.
“Whenever I point out something to my CNAs, I always make sure to provide an adequate explanation. While pointing out can correct behavior, it will not help with retention. By explaining, however, you get to correct a wrong action, and you also prevent it from happening again,” a six-year head nurse said.
4. Know the 5 Rs of delegationBefore proceeding with the actual delegation, it’s a wise move if you can familiarize yourself first with the 5 Rs of delegation. Delegating a task to the wrong person does not only mean less quality of care, but you can also put your patients in danger.
In theory, delegation should include:
- Right Person
- Right Task
- Right Direction
- Right Circumstances
- Right Evaluation
5. Appreciate the help.As much as you want to meet to all your patients’ needs, you just can’t attend to eight call bells at once. Having a good CNA to work with can help lift off some of the work of your plate while making sure that all patients are well-attended. Showing your team appreciation for all the hard work they’ve done will not only make them feel valued, but it can also be a way to make them feel motivated.
6. Practice consideration.Sitting down to work on your charts while one of your CNAs is running around assisting patients after patients to use the bathroom isn’t only impolite, it’s unprofessional, too. Your team helps you out during your shift, so it’s only respectful that you extend help to them as well. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to carry the tasks all by yourself but taking some of the workloads, particularly when they’re overwhelmed, can surely make them feel like you belong to the same team.
“We literally have each other’s back when on duty. Even when we’re doing separate tasks, we still make it a point to ask each other if we can use some help. Most of the time, we don’t even need to ask. It just happens automatically,” a ward nurse said.
How do you handle delegation? Are there other strategies you use aside from the ones on this list?
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