NCLEX Delegation Question Tips

Staff Writer
May 3, 2022

There’s a particular type of question on your NCLEX exam that can be tricky to answer correctly: delegation questions. That’s why we’ve prepared this post with our best NCLEX delegation tips to help you confidently and skillfully tackle this category of questions on your exam.

We know the National Council Licensure Examination can be scary. With so much information to cover, preparing for it can feel impossible, but at Joyce, we are committed to helping our nursing students pass. Every week we offer a new set of NCLEX study tips, and unlike our more general strategies from last week, today we’re focusing on one common topic: NCLEX delegation tips.

Like with all of our NCLEX study tips, we can’t guarantee you’ll come across these questions. As every exam is different, the best strategy for passing the NCLEX with flying colors is to ensure that you’re prepared for every question type that could appear. That said, it’s common on your exam to be asked about what an RN can delegate to another RN, an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse), or a NAP (Nursing Assistive Personnel—same thing as CNA and NA)—and that is precisely where our NCLEX delegation tips come in. Here are 7 important things to remember when attempting to correctly answer this type of question.

1. Never step out of line

Remember that any actions you delegate to the NAP must be defined, monitored, and directed by a RN. Even so, you can never assign nursing judgments or steps of the nursing process to anyone except a registered nurse (RN). Keeping this at the front of your mind should help you cross out choices and pick the right answer on your NCLEX exam.

2. Base everything on the nursing process

In everything you do and delegate, you must implement the nursing process. “Assessment, Diagnosis, Outcomes/Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation” should always guide your actions, especially when deciding if delegation is appropriate. You must always make judgments for client care based on the nursing process, both on your NCLEX exam and once you’re working in the field as a registered nurse.

3. Only let nurses teach

If the scenario described in the delegation question involves client teaching, you can cross NAP off your potential delegation list. That’s because client teaching must be performed by the RN and cannot be delegated to anyone except another RN.

4. Begin and end treatment with nurses

Though NAP can provide valuable support during the middle of (some) treatments, everything begins and ends with nurses. Remember that both admission assessment and discharge teaching must be done by an RN and cannot be delegated out.

5. Consider specificity and stability

Before you consider delegation as an option, consider the specificity of the task, and the stability of your client. The RN can delegate tasks that have specific guidelines which are used in the care of stable clients.

6. Remember this list

Tasks that can be delegated to NAPs include:

  • Bathing
  • Providing personal hygiene
  • Collecting urine samples
  • Assisting with ambulation
  • Taking vital signs
  • Taking capillary blood sugar

NAPs can also document data that they specifically gathered including: intake and output, vital signs, and blood sugars.

7. Mind RN keywords

When you see words like evaluate, assess, determine, teach, instruct, and decide, remember that these are all things only the RN can do. You cannot delegate these types of tasks out.


We know that taking the NCLEX exam can be intimidating, but by keeping these delegation tips in mind, you’ll greatly increase your chances of successfully answering this question type and passing your exam. Interesting in hearing tips for tackling another commonly tricky NCLEX question type? Check out our tips for how best to approach NCLEX priority questions.

For more NCLEX study strategies and advice, you can download our free NCLEX ebook.

Happy studying, and see you with more NCLEX study tips next week!

– Cheryl Armstrong, MS, RN
– Britt Baer, RN, MSN-HCSM, SANE

P.S. We love feedback. Post to our Facebook page with comments or requests for specific information you’d like to see in the series.

About NCLEX Wednesday: Joyce’s NCLEX review course has helped our nursing students pass the NCLEX with flying colors. We’re spreading the love to all nursing students as part of a weekly series. Nurses unite!


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