Nurse retention projects hailed a success

Careers clinic and fast-track transfers help London trust halve its vacancy rate

Two nurse-led projects at a leading trust are having a positive effect on its staff retention and vacancy rates.

Since the creation of a staff careers clinic and a new fast-track transfer process within the trust, University College London Hospitals (UCLH) Foundation NHS Trust has retained 33 nurses who wanted to leave. A further 43 are interested in a sideways move.

The trust’s deputy chief nurse Lorraine Szeremeta said she is ‘amazed’ at the success of the projects, piloted from June to September last year.

She said the board acted after vacancies nationally hit their highest levels for 15 years in 2014. At UCLH 443 nurses left and only 648 were recruited.

She said: ‘We wanted to understand why this was, and particularly why so many band 5 nurses were leaving. After discussions with staff we found the majority were not aware about the vacancies we had. They also believed the process necessary to go through a transfer was lengthy and too complicated.’

Ms Szeremeta said none of the nurses who transferred have since left, and estimates savings of £270,000 on recruitment costs and £215,000 on temporary staff. ‘We set a target of reducing our vacancy rate from 16% to 7.5% and are on course to achieve this next month.’

Careers clinic lead Natalie Shamash has met with 85 nurses to provide guidance on experience and skills that could be useful.

Ms Szeremeta said: ‘My ultimate vision is to see this rolled out across London so nurses can switch easily between hospitals.’

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