Delegation Experiences with Unlicensed Personnel by Illinois School Nurses: Qualitative Phenomenological Study
Delegation of nursing tasks to licensed personnel is commonplace in nursing practice. Problems arise when school nurses delegate nursing tasks to unlicensed school personnel. There is a lack of clarity and empirical data regarding what school nurses' real-life experiences are related to the delegation of nursing tasks to unlicensed school personnel. The aim of this study was to explore if nurses in the school setting have adequate knowledge of the accountability, responsibility, and requirements when delegating nursing tasks to unlicensed school personnel, according to the Illinois Nurse Practice Act (2019). A qualitative phenomenological approach was used to collect data from 15 Illinois school nurses who had experience with the delegation of nursing tasks in public elementary and high schools. The research questions used to guide the study were designed to explore the perspectives of school nurse experience, perceptions, and knowledge regarding responsibility, accountability, and appropriateness of delegation of nursing tasks to unlicensed school personnel. Analysis of the results revealed all of the participants had current or previous experience with delegation in the school setting. More than half of the respondents lacked knowledge of the specifics in the Illinois Nurse Practice Act regarding the delegation of nursing tasks to unlicensed school personnel. School administrators and school nurse leaders can use the results of the study to make decisions about alternative health service delivery methods in the absence of the school nurse as well as school nurse professional development. Transferability of results to others is possible when similar practice protocols are evident.
Illinois Nurse Practice Act