Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Nursing


School of Nursing


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Yvonne Hauck

Second Advisor

Dr Patricia Percival

Third Advisor

Dr Kathy Ahern


Early discharge for women after childbirth was introduced in Australia approximately ten years ago. Early discharge involves going home from hospital within three days of giving birth. Since its introduction, early discharge has been the subject of much debate. Previous research has argued the cost effectiveness and safety of early discharge, but little has been done to examine this phenomenon from the human aspect. An exploratory study of first time mothers, in an early discharge programme was undertaken to address how these women felt in relation to their readiness for going home. A purposive sample of twenty Caucasian, English speaking women were interviewed in their homes, three weeks after the birth of their baby. Data from personal interviews, telephone follow-up interviews and the researchers observational field notes were analysed using content analysis. Significant statements were extracted from data transcriptions and were clustered into appropriate themes and sub-themes. Validity and reliability was confirmed during data analysis. The study findings revealed that the 20 participants felt ready to go home from hospital on or before day three. Four key themes emerged from the data: Getting Information and Help for Going Home; Getting Information and Help after Going Home; Caring for Baby; and Own Environment. The conceptual framework developed from the current literature on early discharge was modified to incorporate the themes drawn from the data. More exploratory-descriptive research on early discharge needs to be undertaken to examine the perceptions of other groups within the community. The experiences of non-English speaking women, single mothers, and adolescents in early discharge programmes need to be explored.