Registered nurses' attitudes towards the role of the healthcare assistant

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Aim To elicit the views of registered nurses (RNs), working in the surgical directorate of an acute NHS trust, concerning the responsibilities of RNs to healthcare assistants (HCAs), specifically in relation to delegation, development and accountability.

Method A survey using a 24-item questionnaire and a six-point Likert scale design was administered to a convenience sample of 219 RNs working within the surgical directorate. A total of 148 completed questionnaires were returned, giving a 68% response rate.

Results The results suggested that the majority of RNs were aware of their responsibilities regarding accountability for delegated tasks, believe that HCAs should be regulated and, once prepared adequately, held individually accountable for their actions.

Conclusion RNs should undertake appropriate skill development in pre-registration programmes and be provided with preceptorship to ensure they are equipped adequately to supervise and delegate work to HCAs.

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