Coordination of Care

What does “coordination of care” mean? What is the RN role in coordination of care?

  • RNs coordinate care when they identify the health needs of clients and organize the required care to ensure continuous, safe care (1).
  • As coordinators of care, RNs are team leaders in their practice environments. They coordinate the health care team to analyze and organize complex health challenges into manageable components. They perform assessments and create care plans, provide care, make decisions about assignments to other care providers, and communicate with other care providers as they oversee and evaluate the ongoing care of clients (2, 3 & 4). Assignment is part of the coordination of care and is a decision that identifies the most appropriate care provider for the provision of a client’s care. Assignment of care occurs not only at the beginning of the shift but throughout the shift as client care needs change.
  • The registered nursing process is comprised of an assessment of the client, development of the nursing care plan, care plan implementation and evaluation of the nursing care provided. This is part of the coordination of care and therefore the responsibility of RNs. The RN is responsible and accountable for all these components (5).
  • When resources are not available to provide appropriate or safe care, RNs collaborate with others to adjust priorities and minimize harm. RNs keep the clients receiving the care informed about potential or actual plans regarding the delivery of care. RNs inform employers about potential threats to the safety and quality of health care (6).

The RNs in my organization are reporting there are not enough RNs to meet the needs of our clients. What does this mean, since we have an RN/client ratio of 4:1?

The RNs appear to be bringing this concern forward based on the complexity of the care required for the clients for which they are responsible. As coordinators of care, the RN must consider the needs of each client and determine which care provider is best matched to provide the required care. It is possible the staff mix may not be at an optimal level and requires evaluation.

CRNS Resources

Code of Ethics for registered nurses (2017)

Registered Nurse Practice Standards (2019)

Registered Nurse Entry-Level Competencies (2019)

The Registered Nurses Act (1988)

External Resources

CNA Staff Mix Framework

Resource Key
1RN Entry-Level Competencies (2019)5.1, page 10
2Registered Nurse Practice Standards (2019)Indicator 40, page 6
3Registered Nurse Practice Standards (2019)Indicator 19, page 4
4Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses (2017)B1, page 10
5RN Entry-Level Competencies (2019)1.2, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6, page 6
6Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses (2017)A7, page 9


Scroll to top