The role that intensive care unit (ICU) nurses could play in hospital discharge planning remains relatively unexplored. Using a case study, all ICU nurses in one hospital were surveyed about their perceptions of their role in the discharge process. Over 70% of the 58 nurses who responded thought that discharge planning was both appropriate in the ICU and not premature. However, several obstacles including patient acuity, time constraints and limited experience with this process were evident. While ICU nurses are aptly placed to manage discharge planning, they cannot be expected to undertake this important role without a systematic approach to its implementation.