Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing (MAN)



First Advisor

Joyce P. Miller DNP, RN

Second Advisor

Jacqueline Sumner, DNP, RN

Third Advisor

Katherine Martin, Ph.D., CNM


An essential step to support NICU families in their transition to home after hospital discharge is discharge planning. As a part of discharge planning, it is important to ensure that the outpatient specialty provider follow up appointments are made and all NICU education is completed before the day of a patient’s discharge. At a Midwest suburban hospital, it was noted that 36% of NICU education was incomplete on a patient’s day of discharge. A quality improvement project to enhance the nursing discharge planning process was developed and implemented in the neonatal intensive care unit at a Midwest suburban hospital. The project intervention is the nurse’s use of a discharge checklist. The discharge checklist includes a list of education topics and potential specialty provider needs for NICU patients following discharge. Rogers’ Science of Unitary Human (SUHB) Theory served as the theoretical framework for guiding the project coordinator to understand the complex NICU environment. Chart reviews and surveys were conducted before and after the project intervention to determine the degree of success of the quality improvement project. After 1 month, there was an increase of 2.3% in nurses completing education noted before a patient’s day of discharge. Reflection following implementation illustrated a need to improve nurse communication as to the reason for the need to implement the discharge checklist. Transformational leadership skills allowed the author to identify a gap in the nursing discharge practices and implement a process to improve care.


SC 11.MAN.2022.Mcfarlane.KM