The present paper investigates what the term discharge planning actually means to nurses working in the acute care environment. A qualitative approach was used for this study. Twelve volunteer registered nurses (RNs) working in a large metropolitan Victorian public hospital were interviewed. All participants stated emphatically that they were involved in the discharge planning process although differing levels of involvement existed. "Organizing" and "planning" were key words used by participants to define the term discharge planning. All but one participant considered the nurse to be the coordinator of the discharge planning process. How participants communicated with other nursing staff regarding the discharge planning needs of individual patients depended on the policy of each individual ward. Communication was perceived to be a major factor that either enhanced or impeded the discharge planning process.