Published: 04 September 2013

Surrey researchers’ delegation skills tool to be trialled by hospital trusts

Researchers from the University of Surrey’s School of Health Sciences, Nursing and Midwifery have designed a new tool that aims to improve the confidence and skills of newly qualified nurses.

The tool was developed by a team of researchers from the University's of Surrey's School of Health Sciences, Nursing and Midwifery, the Universities of Salford and York and the Institute of Education in London, following two years of research into the relationship between newly qualified nurse and health care assistants (HCAs) at three trusts across England. The research included observing nurses for almost 200 hours and interviewing nurses, their managers and HCAs.

The tool consists of seven questions and encourages newly qualified nurses to reflect on how they delegate, communicate with colleagues and define roles and responsibilities, tasks many find difficult. It’s anticipated that the tool will be made available in a variety of formats, including a smartphone app.

Carin Magnusson, Lecturer in Health Services, who is working on the project with Dr Khim Horton and Dr Katherine Curtis, said: “Our research revealed a number of areas where newly qualified nurses really struggle, and we used that evidence to develop the tool. It is designed to be completed with nurses’ preceptors to enable reflective, open discussions.

“This project is particularly important in the light of the findings from the Francis Report published earlier this year into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust. The aim is that the tool will help build confidence and help nurses to draw on what they’ve learned at university to aid effective delegation and the smooth running of a ward, which ultimately will lead to enhanced patient safety.”

The tool will be trialled by 60 newly qualified nurses at the three trusts from September. If successful, a larger pilot will follow.

The research was presented to the Royal College of Nursing International Nursing Research Conference in Belfast at the end of March and has featured in the Nursing Standard. Learn more about the project here.

Find out more about our undergraduate programmes in the field of Health Sciences, Nursing and Midwifery, including Nursing Studies (Registered Nurse Adult Nursing) BSc (Hons), Nursing Studies (Registered Nurse Children's Nursing) BSc (Hons) and Nursing Studies (Registered Nurse Mental Health Nursing) BSc (Hons).

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