Nursing studies

Delegation and referral in nursing – how to tell the difference

Find out what distinguishes a referred task from a delegated one, and why it matters

Processes underpin teamwork, authority and professional liability in care delivery

In a recent online lecture, one of my students asked for clarification on the difference between delegating and referring a task.

While on a clinical placement, their manager would sometimes say they were delegating a task to them and sometimes say they were referring a task, causing some confusion about the difference between the two.

Delegation and referral are terms you will become very familiar with as nurses. Both are processes that are used to share the delivery of care between team members, and although there are similarities between them, there are also differences.

Delegation in nursing practice

The term delegation is used when one


Want to read more?

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?