How do we successfully reduce turnover rates of early career nurses?
Research review suggests that 6 to 12 month long internship and transition to practice programmes may be a cornerstone to retaining nursing students and early career nurses.
Nurse turnover and retention had previously been identified as central to the sustainability of the healthcare workforce and delivery of clinical care across the world, recognised as a key issue by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
A critical time for nurses to leave the profession is during the first year after qualification.
Whilst various interventions to reduce turnover and increase retention of nurses have been put into practice in different countries, there has been little understanding of which characteristics of these interventions contribute to their success.
Whilst the authors of the systematic review acknowledge the wide range of study and reporting types covered, their findings still suggests that promising interventions for early career nurses appear to be:
- either internship and residency programmes or transition to practice programmes interventions lasting between 27-52 weeks
- contain both a teaching and mentor (and/or preceptor) component
- Clinical practice areas should assess their current interventions against these criteria to guide the development of their effectiveness.
Judy Brook, first author of the systematic review, chairing training session with nursing students at City, University of London
They also stress that future research should follow a rigorous methodology, and focus on standardising the reporting of both the interventions to reduce turnover and retention themselves and the outcome measures used to evaluate the interventions. Evaluations of cost-effectiveness are also considered an important next step.
Professor Debra Salmon, Dean of the School of Health Sciences at City, University of London and Principal Investigator of the systematic review said:
This is an important research study, as it is the first to establish through an evidence review the most effective approach to delivering interventions aimed at early career nurse retention. Understanding how best to structure these interventions is an important finding for healthcare leaders across the sector. This will have important impacts in terms of nurse workforce retention globally, as it will allow health care and education providers to develop training which supports early career nurses to flourish.