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Grant awarded for major research project into nurse retention

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The drivers behind NHS nurse retention and how turnover rates affect patient outcomes will be the subject of a new major research project.

Birmingham City University has been awarded a £260,000 grant by the Health Foundation to carry out the project, which will see data analysed from 10 secondary care and 10 mental health organisations across England.

“We are in a unique position to unlock the key to underlying drivers of nurse retention”

Dr Sarahjane Jones

In collaboration with NHS Improvement, the university will work to uncover underlying contributory factors for better or worse nurse retention and determine the effect of nurse retention on patient outcomes and quality of care.

Those behind the project hope it will unveil answers as to how organisations can keep hold of their nurses amid escalating workforce challenges.

Among those involved in the research team are Professor Mark Radford, deputy chief nursing officer of NHS England and NHS Improvement, and Professor Alison Leary, chair of healthcare and workforce modelling at London South Bank University.

They will work alongside senior research fellow Dr Sarahjane Jones and research fellow Dr Robert Cook, both from Birmingham City University, as well as patient advisor Malcolm Gough.

Dr Jones, deputy director of the Centre for Social Care, Health and Related Research at Birmingham City University, said: “We are in a unique position to unlock the key to underlying drivers of nurse retention and its impact on patient care in this research.

“It’s fantastic to work with NHS Improvement on this project and undertake research which will have a real impact on the NHS in future.”

“We are supporting ideas that have the potential to make a transformational difference”

Usha Boolaky

As part of the programme, new processes for extracting, combining and analysing large datasets will also be created and tested, allowing them to be adopted across the NHS.

The Health Foundation has given the grant as part of its programme supporting innovative research ideas into issues of efficiency and sustainability in health and social care provision in the UK.

The Efficiency Research Programme looks to advance understanding of labour productivity in health and social care in order to bring about financial sustainability, and to better understand workforce retention in the sectors in order to improve workforce sustainability.

Usha Boolaky, assistant director of research at the Health Foundation, said: “The chosen projects for this round of the Efficiency Research Programme are all looking to generate new ways of thinking and new knowledge around labour productivity and workforce retention.

“Through our funding, we are supporting ideas that have the potential to make a transformational difference to health and social care.”

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