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Researchers to focus on nurse retention

A new study will explore ways to reduce staff turnover in nursing jobs.

With an ageing population putting additional strain on healthcare resources (not to mention an ageing workforce and potential recruitment issues following Brexit), staff turnover in nursing jobs has never been a more important factor in NHS workforce planning. To find new ways of improving retention rates for students and early career nurses, researchers at City, University of London have joined with Barts Health NHS Trust to launch a new research programme, beginning in September this year.

During the three-year study, the team aims to identify new nurses who could be at risk of leaving the profession and then work with them to come up with appropriate interventions that could improve retention rates. They hope to empower students and early career nurses to build and make effective use of professional networks, as well as helping embed a sense of connectedness into the organisation which employs them.

"We are delighted to be working with City, University of London, a key strategic partner, on this really important project," said Barts' Chief Nurse, Caroline Alexander. "Being able to really understand the needs of new and early career nurses to maximise opportunities to support them at a critical time in their career is very important for us as an organisation as we want to be the employer of choice for nurses in London."

According to Health Education England, the percentage of nurses and midwives leaving the NHS has risen every year since 2011/12, increasing from 7.7% to 8.6% by 2014/15. National Audit Office statistics show that 17,800 nurses left the NHS before retirement in 2014.

Barts Health provides care in five hospitals in East London, as well as community services in Tower Hamlets, an inner city catchment with an above average annual turnover of nursing and midwifery staff, currently standing at 15.9%. The new research project will build on work already underway at Barts aimed at improving retention of newly-qualified nurses, which includes 'listening events', an extended preceptorship programme and a buddying scheme pairing students and qualified nurses.

Barts is just one of many NHS Trusts across the country that have launched recruitment drives to rebalance their workforces with a larger proportion of permanent staff. To respond to these evolving recruitment needs across the NHS, Sanctuary has recently launched a new division which will work closely with employers to recruit permanent healthcare staff across all roles, including nursing.

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