Skills and competencies: new digital career tool for nurses launched to improve job satisfaction

Digital career framework tool developed by Health Education England-sponsored Capital Nurse programme to be used alongside progress chats between nurses and employers.
Capital Nurse-sponsored digital tool

Digital career framework tool developed by Health Education England-sponsored Capital Nurse programme to be used alongside progress chats between nurses and employers

A new digital tool for nurses to evaluate their skills and competencies aims to improve job satisfaction and retention rates has been launched.

The tool, developed by the Health Education England-sponsored Capital Nurse programme, is to be used alongside biannual career one-to-ones between nurses and their employers.

It is hoped to improve retention by ensuring nurses are happy in their roles and can see how their career is progressing.

40,000 nurse vacancies 

Capital Nurse was established in July 2015 to create a sustainable workforce in London, with the RCN estimating a third of England’s 40,000 vacancies are in the city.

During a pilot of 14 sites, trusts used the chats and assessments to organise job shadowing opportunities for nurses who wished to see what working in a different speciality was like.

One trust said they believed the three-month pilot alone saved three nurses from leaving the trust.

The Digital Career Framework tool will allow nurses to self-assess their skills and career progress, as well as receive feedback from peers, service users and facilitators (more senior members of staff). This information will be used to create a 360-degree assessment of their competencies.

Six-month assessments

Assessments can be filled out at any time and meetings with clinical educators should be held once every six months.

North Middlesex University Hospital preceptorship lead and practice educator Tracy Webb said the meetings allowed nurses to freely discuss career options, away from a ward manager who could perceivably try to keep them from moving.

She said: ‘What I could do was organise a shadow shift. So, in their own time, a surgical nurse could, for example, follow a nurse on the intensive care unit for half a shift or a whole shift and get a feel of it.

‘They would then know if it was the right for them. The last thing we want is a nurse leaving one unit and going to another and absolutely hating it. Unfortunately, that did happen previously.’

Struggle to recruit participants

Ms Webb admitted it had been a struggle to recruit participants, with managers reluctant to release nurses and nurses themselves put off by more paperwork.

However, of the 13 people she convinced to take part, three were saved from leaving the trust.

Capital Nurse lead Chris Caldwell said: ‘It has been quite a surprise to us how valuable the career conversations have been.

‘Unfortunately, in busy workplaces it is easy to think you know how someone is, and believe they are all right.

‘When people feel valued and that someone is bothered about them, they are less likely to look elsewhere.’

Capital Nurse will now invest in promoting the framework and build a business case to show how it can benefit retention, in the hope more trusts and organisations adopt it.

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