Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Janice Long


The definition of a successful discharge is a discharge that results in patients successfully managing a chronic disease for at least 30 days without requiring an acute inpatient hospitalization. Many chronic disease readmissions are preventable. Successful discharge planning takes a multidisciplinary team that includes nurses who assess the discharge plan and provide additional education where needed. The purpose of this project was to determine staff nurses' understanding of their role in discharge education. Dorothea Orem's self-care deficit theory guided the project and root cause analysis was used in the development of the problem statements. Staff nurses (n=12) from evening and day shift of a rural hospital were interviewed using questions developed from the content from the literature review. Individual interviews were conducted with the volunteer participants and data from the interviews were examined using content analysis. Results included barriers to discharge education were related to inadequate nursing education, poor patient compliance, and inadequate discharge planning. Recommendations from the nurses' interviewed included the need for staff nurse education regarding their role in the educational needs of the patient and their family prior to discharge. The findings from this project may benefit nurses' practice by providing them with an understanding of the need for effective discharge education for patients. When patients are appropriately educated prior to discharge, their ability to self-manage their disease may improve, which can result in a decrease in health care costs and preventable readmissions. Educating nurses about their role in discharge planning promotes positive social change by improving the quality of the discharge education and patient outcomes.

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