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Newly qualified nurses more likely to stay if on a structured mentoring programme

Retention in the first year is partly reliant on keeping experienced staff, says RCN

Retention in the first year is partly reliant on keeping experienced staff, says RCN


Picture: Neil O’Connor

Newly qualified nurses are less likely to leave their jobs if they receive mentoring and further teaching during their first year in post, according to new research.

Researchers found retention of newly qualified nurses increased by 24% when employers agreed to provide a structured learning programme for 6-12 months, covering clinical practice, mentoring and teaching sessions.

The results are based on a literature review of four studies involving more than 6,000 newly qualified nurses in the US. Researchers from City, University of London also found that a combination of teaching and mentoring, in either one-to-one or group sessions, increased retention by nearly 15% in another five studies involving more than 6,000 newly qualified nurses.

A further 13 studies that focused on teaching sessions only and involved just over 1,000 newly qualified nurses found retention increased by 23%.

One in five new nurses in London leave in their first year

Yinglen Butt
The RCN’s Yinglen Butt

According to the Capital Nurse scheme, 20% of newly qualified nurses in London leave within their first year.

RCN associate director of nursing clinical standards and supporting practice Yinglen Butt said: ‘Experienced nursing staff are departing early due to overwhelming poor staffing, and this leaves recently registered nurses without valuable mentors.

‘The measures outlined in this study could address some of these factors.’

Staffing pressures a factor

Ms Butt said the RCN’s main concern is improving staffing levels so nurses do not leave the profession.

Unison head of health Sara Gorton also called for safe staffing levels to prevent new starters from leaving due to stress, and said she supports the idea of mentoring and teaching to help those starting out in the profession.


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