This qualitative study proposed to examine staff RN's decision making related to discharge planning and perceptions of their role. Themes resulting from interviews were "following the script" and "RN as coordinator." The decision to consult a discharge planner occurred when the patient's situation did not follow the RN's expectations. Discharge planning for nonroutine situations was considered disruptive to the RN's workflow. The RN's role was limited to oversight when a discharge planner was involved. Understanding RNs' decision making in this key process provides valuable insights into differentiating routine from nonroutine patient situations and deploying appropriate resources in a timely fashion.
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