Implementation of a Clinical Learning Assignment to Provide Delegation Opportunities to Senior Nursing Students

Monday, 30 October 2017

Kristy Chunta, PhD, RN, ACNS, BC1
Riah Leigh Hoffman, PhD, RN2
Nicole Custer, PhD, RN, CCRN-K2
(1)Deparment of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA, USA
(2)Department of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA, USA

Senior nursing students are expected to graduate with leadership skills to manage a group of patients and to appropriately prioritize and delegate care. The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice curriculum guidelines emphasize that leadership skills are needed for collaboration with the interdisciplinary team, coordination of care, and delegation. The baccalaureate nursing student must function as designer, manager, and coordinator of care. Providing care to a group of patients requires the student to develop effective leadership skills and to make appropriate decisions to prioritize and delegate care. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing recently published new national guidelines on nursing delegation. These guidelines recognize the need for delegation in today’s health care setting and the challenges of this complex process. Providing delegation learning experiences can be difficult for nurse educators due to limitations in the clinical setting, large student numbers, and high patient acuity. In addition, students often feel uncomfortable when attempting to delegate clinical activities to unlicensed professionals, resulting in limited opportunities to learn the delegation process.

This poster presentation will share a learning activity that provided real-life delegation opportunities for senior nursing students in a nursing management clinical course. In this activity, senior nursing students managing a group of three to four patients delegated appropriate care activities to another student who was functioning as an unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP). This allowed students to develop leadership skills through effective communication and decision making. The learning activity provided opportunities for students to identify appropriate activities to delegate, communicate effectively, and make decisions related to delegation based on prioritization and time management needs. After completing the learning activity, the students completed a journal reflection that discussed the following areas: struggles related to delegating care activities, whether students felt they delegated appropriately, missed delegation opportunities, and what was learned from the experience and how it could be applied to future clinical situations.

The presentation will describe the learning activity and opportunities for implementing this in the clinical setting. The poster will share themes from students’ journal reflections. Limitations and challenges of the learning activity will be addressed along with opportunities for future delegation projects.