Newly-qualified nurses will play a key role in research project to explore ways to boost retention among nursing students and those starting out on nursing careers.
The three-year project will see researchers from City, University of London work with Barts Health NHS Trust to develop and test new approaches aimed at reducing high turnover of nursing staff.
“The project aims to empower the next generation of nurses to meet their potential”
Crucially, the research team will work alongside a group of student nurses and newly-qualified staff to explore interventions that could make a real difference to retention.
The project, which is supported by a grant from the Burdett Trust for Nursing, is due to launch in September this year.
It will have a particular focus on Barts Health, which supports more than 370 nursing students from City in 945 placements each year.
The trust, which provides care in five hospitals in east London and community services in Tower Hamlets, operates in an inner city area with above average annual turnover of nursing and midwifery staff.
Network approach to be tested to reduce nurse turnover
The idea is to look at ways new nurses can build professional networks and use them to further their careers and develop stronger links with their employer.
The research team hope to identify new nurses who could be most at risk of dropping out of the profession to take part.
Project lead Professor Debra Salmon, deputy dean of the school of health sciences at City, said the “co-productive” nature of the project was key.
“The project aims to empower the next generation of nurses to meet their potential through raising the profile of professional networks within the trust,” she said.
“This innovative project will be lead by a project group of student nurses, early career nurses, experienced nurse clinicians and nurse researchers,” said Professor Salmon.
“The co-productive nature of this work emphasises that people are not passive subjects of research and have assets and expertise, which can help improve both process and outcomes of the project,” she added.
She said the hope was the project would lead to effective ways of boosting retention that could be used by a wide range of settings employing nurses.
The project builds on work already under way at Barts Health aimed at improving retention of newly-qualified nurses.
It includes running “listening events”, offering an extended preceptorship programme and developing a buddying scheme that sees qualified nurses supporting nursing students.
Trust chief nurse Caroline Alexander said the new research project was part of the organisation’s efforts to become “the employer of choice for nurses in London”.
“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,” she said.