News Release

NCSBN and the American Nurses Association (ANA) issue New Joint National Guidelines for Nursing Delegation

Posted 6/6/2019
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.
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CHICAGO – 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 ‘delegatees,’ 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.
Founded March 15, 1978, as an independent not-for-profit organization, NCSBN was initially created to lessen the burdens of state governments and bring together nursing regulatory bodies (NRBs) to act and counsel together on matters of common interest. It has evolved into one of the leading voices of regulation across the world.
NCSBN’s membership is comprised of the NRBs in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories — American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands. There are three exam user members. There are also 25 associate members that are either NRBs or empowered regulatory authorities from other countries or territories. 
Mission: NCSBN provides education, service and research through collaborative leadership to promote evidence-based regulatory excellence for patient safety and public protection.
The statements and opinions expressed are those of NCSBN and not individual members.
About the American Nurses Association
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4 million registered nurses. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit
*These guidelines do not apply to the transfer of responsibility for care of a patient between licensed health care providers (e.g., RN to another RN or LPN/VN to another LPN/VN), which is considered a handoff (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2015).