Evolutionary change in the use of skills within the district nursing team: a study in two Health Board areas in Scotland
Grade mix within the district nursing team in the United Kingdom has changed markedly over the last 10 years but the relationship between grade mix and skill mix has received only intermittent research attention. This study adopted an ethnographic approach and aimed to explore the way in which grade and skill are taken into account in the delegation of nursing care. After gaining ethical approval, a total of 76 members of 21 district nursing teams in two areas were observed and interviewed. Delegation practices were found to vary both within and between areas and considerable differences were uncovered in the responsibilities allocated to more junior and unqualified team members. The developing role of nursing auxiliaries is discussed in relation to the role of the G grade sister, resource constraints and the standards of patient care. The paper concludes by arguing that the supervision and leadership role provided by the G grade sister should be fully recognized and safeguarded.