Towards the end of my second year of nursing I attended my last spoke place within the discharge unit.
Everything I had read about a nurse’s role within that department led me to believe it would be a minimal learning opportunity. How wrong I was!
My first day I was shown around the eight-room unit. There were separate areas for patients awaiting transport and those awaiting TTO’s, as well as a tv room, kitchen and offices.
My mentor showed me in to the unit’s main office and explained to me the discharge process. He had such passion for organisation, and explained within this trust the wards used discharge checklists to minimise bed blocking.
As a student, I had heard of, but never seen, a formal checklist being used for discharges.
I thought how useful this checklist could be for someone like myself to help with organisation and improvement on maximising bed availability on the wards.
Being a student you are lucky enough to have the opportunities to work in a variety of trusts and departments. I was really surprised just how little the discharge units were utilised in other trusts.
Many times patients on wards were waiting to go home, and where held up by TTO checks and transport, something that the discharge unit can deal with.
I was able to witness first hand that by using this amazing facility the discharge process became a much smoother and positive transition for both patient and staff.
Patients were identified for discharge in the morning handover, and the checklist was used to identify what was pending - and once all treatment had been completed the discharge staff collected the patient.
The patients were told they were waiting to go home at the point of arrival in the discharge lounge, and they were informed on transport timeframes and given necessary medication and refreshments.
On my return to university I gave a presentation of my experience within the discharge lounge. Feedback from other student nurses told me they felt that they knew little about these units.
Furthermore, it was said that, because of this, the facilities were not being utilised to their full potential and many had not heard of the discharge checklists.
Going into my final year of nursing I am going to utilise the discharge checklist and make full use of the discharge facilities in the trust I am placed.
As nurses of the future, lets make a real push to educate and promote the use of these facility to improve patient’s experiences and services.
Hannah Callam, student nurse