NCSBN, American Nurses Association Issue Joint National Guidelines

New rules applicable to all levels of nursing licensure

NCSBN and the ANA have issued new joint National Guidelines on Delegation utilizing new research findings and evidence in the literature to update and standardize the nursing delegation process. These guidelines are applicable to all levels of nursing licensure (advanced practice registered nurse [APRN], registered nurse [RN], licensed practical/vocational nurse [LPN/VN]) where the nurse practice act (NPA) is silent.

These guidelines can be applied* to:

  • APRNs when delegating to RNs, LPN/VNs and assistive personnel (AP)
  • RNs when delegating to LPN/VNs and AP
  • LPN/VNs (as allowed by their state/jurisdiction) when delegating to AP

“Health care is rapidly evolving and this evolution is shaping the roles and responsibilities of both licensed nurses and assistive personnel,” comments Maryann Alexander, PhD, RN, FAAN, chief officer, Nursing Regulation, NCSBN.

Today, the abilities to delegate, assign and supervise are critical competencies for every RN. Being that states/jurisdictions have different laws and rules/regulations about delegation, it is the responsibility of all licensed nurses to know what is permitted in their jurisdiction.

Alexander notes, “When certain nursing care needs to be delegated, it is imperative that the delegation process and the jurisdictional NPA be clearly understood so that it is safely, ethically and effectively carried out. The new guidelines are designed to provide greater clarity surrounding delegation and help reduce confusion about responsibility and accountability.”

Debbie Hatmaker, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANA chief nursing officer, adds, “The delegation process is multifaceted with responsibilities shared among nurse leaders, licensed nurses and ‘delegates,’ those to whom nursing care responsibilities are delegated. The decision of whether or not to delegate or assign is based upon the nurse’s judgement concerning the condition of the patient, the competence of all members of the nursing team and the degree of supervision that will be required if a task is delegated.”  

The Joint National Guidelines for Nursing Delegation, replace the previous ones issued in 2010. The guidelines can be found online.


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