Discharge Planning and the Roles of the Nurses
This assignment enables the student to meet the following course outcomes.
CO 1: Examine the sources of knowledge that contribute to professional nursing practice. (PO #7)
CO 2: Apply research principles to the interpretation of the content of published research studies. (POs #4 and #8)
Discharge Planning and the Roles of the Nurses
The focus of the group’s work is to critically analyze the nurses’ role in discharge planning and how the planning impacts patient outcomes. The discharging process may either be the transfer of a patient from one level of the hospital to the other or from hospital to his or her home (Foust, 2007). For this process to be successful, the nurses should develop an effective discharge plan, which involves the patient, relatives, and the doctors in the hospital. Therefore, the nurses play a central role in the discharging process of the patient where they represent the health care institution. Discharge planning is crucial since it enables the patient to receive quality medical care from the nurses to ensure re-hospitalization is avoided. An effective discharge plan consists of six crucial components; that is, evaluation, discussion, planning, determining, referrals, and arranging (Foust, 2007). This research will analyze how the recovery process (O) of both children and adults (P) admitted in medical institutions is affected (C) by the roles of the nurses regarding discharge planning (I) during and after the discharge process (T). Therefore, the PICOT question, in this case, involves evaluating the specific roles of the nurses in discharge planning, and how the patients benefit from the effective plans of the nurses. The nurses play a crucial role in the discharge planning process since they are responsible for catering to the needs of the patient. Therefore, this study will focus on analyzing the roles of the nurses in the discharge planning process and how their roles impact the outcomes of the patient.
Levels of Evidence
This part of the paper focuses on the evidence regarding the specific duties of the nurses in the discharging process of the patients. The roles in this process must be addressed in stages to identify how the patients benefit from all stages. According to the American Nurses Association, the roles include initiating the discharge plan, discussing the plan, the establishment of patient referrals, and organizing follow-up tests.
Initiation of the Discharge Plan
This is one of the major roles of the nurses where after the doctor approves the discharging of a patient, it is the duty of the nurses to formulate the plan. This involves the continuous assessing of the patient to identify any challenges experienced. The assessment will include the nurses consistently communicating with the patient to identify whether he or she is fully ready for the discharge. The nurses are also responsible for communicating the discharge with the patient’s representative or relatives to create awareness of the plan (American Nurses Association, 2010). The preparation of documents regarding the patient being discharged is also part of this initiation plan by the nurses. The documents, in this case, are the clearance forms indicating the release of the patient from the medical institution. The nurses should forward the documents to the patient’s relatives to enable them to cater for the medical charges.
Discussion of Plan
After initiating the discharge plan, the nurses should then discuss with the patient and his or her relatives to determine the process and the time to release the patient. This role involves the nurses informing them about the state of the patient and the services required to be administered when at the next level to promote his or her health status; that is, the specific care plans (Foust, 2007). The services include the meals or diet that the patient should consume the drugs that should be administered, and how and when the drugs should be taken. This information is crucial since it will determine how the patient will perform health wise. This role will also involve the nurses determining how the patient will be transferred to the next destination to ensure a smooth transition from the medical institution.
Establishment of Patient Referrals
This is also an important role to be conducted by the nurses in the discharge plan where they provide information regarding other health departments or institutions to the patient. Where the patient is being released from one level of medical care to another, it is the duty of the nurses to determine the next level. The referral may also involve physical therapy where the nurses give details on where the patient should access other support services that will promote his or her health. This includes referring the patient to a gym trainer to cater for his or her body fitness or a nutritionist to ensure the patient is engaging in healthy eating. The establishment of patient referrals is a crucial role of the nurses in the discharging plan since it ensures the patient will still receive health services after the release from the institution.
Organizing Follow-Up Tests
This function involves the nurses setting appointment dates for the patient where he or she is expected to visit the health institution for further tests. The tests are meant for evaluation purposes where they determine if the patient’s health is improving or deteriorating (Foust, 2007). The nurses should organize the dates when the patients should visit where it is their duty to remind the patient of the appointment through the making of calls. Therefore, the stated roles of nurses ensure effective planning of the discharge process where they contribute to the well-being of the patient.
The search topics used in this study are associated with the nursing field where the analysis is based on the discharge planning sector. The problem statement, in this case, involves identifying how patients are impacted by the discharge plans executed by the nurses. Therefore, the study has examined the roles of the nurses in this planning where they include initiating the discharge plan, discussing the plan, the establishment of patient referrals, and organizing follow-up tests. These roles enable one to identify how the health of the patients in the medical institutions is influenced since the nurses are in charge of the discharging process. The search strategy in this study is based on information from the American Nurses Association and the Journal of Applied Nursing Research. This journal evaluates the daily nurse practices associated with discharge planning; hence, providing databases regarding the nursing field. These two sources are also relevant and can be used in future research work since they elaborate the nursing practices; that is, general and specific practices; hence, enabling the researcher to obtain crucial data and evidence.
Therefore, from this study, one can identify the roles of the nurses in discharge planning and the importance of the roles in ensuring the patient is healthy. The nurses are the key players in this sector where they cater to the needs of the patient by ensuring the discharge process is handled effectively and efficiently. The absence of the nurses or where they fail to perform their roles effectively may negatively affect the health outcomes of the patients. For instance, a study by the American Nurses Association indicates that 18% of patients in the US are readmitted to hospitals within 30 days of the discharging period. The study also shows that 65% of patients experience medication errors after being discharged (American Nurses Association, 2010). Therefore, this indicates the importance of the roles of the nurses in providing effective discharge plans to patients.
American Nurses Association. (2010). Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice. Nursesbooks. org.
Foust, J. B. (2007). Discharge Planning as Part of Daily Nursing Practice. Applied Nursing Research, 20(2), 72-77.