I send people home all the time even if they are contracting. When I work triage, I keep a pt for an hour. If she hasn't changed her cervix in that hour, she goes home. If baby looks great on the monitor, I may have her walk for that hour to help try to get the contractions stronger and more frequent and have baby's head rub on mom's cervix. If no change in an hour, it's not considered labor and she goes home. It is rather common for women to have contractions and have it not be labor at all. If I admit those women, then we end up having to start pitocin on them and it is considered an induction. Unnecessary inductions are the cause of way too many cesarean sections in this country and that leads to more babies in NICU cuz they were forced to be born.
The contractions either go away in a few hours (usually mom is dehydrated and just needs to drink a bunch of water) or they'll get stronger and the woman will come back and be admitted after her cervix has changed. And it isn't the nurse's call....we have to call the doc and the doc says "Send her home with instructions".
My son made this for me: