The Experiences of Registered Nurses in Fulfilling Their Role in Patient Care Planning within Acute Care Settings
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Documentation of care plans by Registered Nurses (RN) within acute care is imperative. There is scant research related to the experiences of nurses with written care plans within this context. The purpose of this study was to describe RN’s experiences with care plan practice. Qualitative descriptive methodology informed by a socio-ecological perspective was used to conduct this inquiry. Ten participants were recruited from four medical/surgical settings. Six RNs, two Clinical Educators and two Health Service Managers participated in semi-structured interviews. Two themes with associated sub-themes were derived utilizing thematic analysis: Unwritten Care Planning and Modernizing Care Planning. Study findings concluded that unwritten care planning was the experience described by participants. Factors influencing participant’s experiences of care planning included unclaimed accountability, care delivery processes and context of care. Participants also described strategies to enhance care planning practice. This research can guide practice improvements and builds upon existing care plan research.