Evaluating the use of nursing care plans in general practice at a level 3 hospital in the Umgungundlovu district of KwaZulu-Natal : a case study
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Aim The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of nursing care plans in the management of patient care and to recommend guidelines for improving the quality of planned nursing care at a level 3 hospital in the Umgungundlovu district of KwaZulu-Natal. Method The case study was based on the conceptual model of care planning and employed both quantitative and qualitative research designs. The quantitative phase involved a retrospective audit of charts, using an itemised checklist to determine whether items relating to the phases of the nursing process were in evidence within the charts. The qualitative phase consisted of face-to-face interviews with registered nurses, who were asked about their understanding and use of the nursing process. Data derived were analysed using Nvivo 10 and presented as graphs, tables and written text extracts. Results The results show that the use of the standardised care plans at the study hospital had an impact on the understanding of the importance of the nursing process and the successful implementation of the care plans. Factors that had an impact on this included the registered nurses who failed to nurture the junior nurses, lack of understanding of the care plans and what was expected of the staff, staff attitudes and the heavy workload. Conclusion It was suggested that nurse leaders support the implementation and continued use of individualised care plans in order to improve critical thinking skills of nurses by implementing teaching and in-service programs, employing knowledgeable registered nurses, by developing and enforcing adherence to policies that favour care planning and nursing documentation.