A retention drive to include mentoring support has been launched to encourage nurses to continue their careers at two Black Country NHS Trusts.
Evidence has shown if nurses stay with Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust and partners The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust for one year, they’re likely to double their stay, and if they stay for two years, they’re more likely to stay for half a decade.
Several ways are being used to achieve this through an initiative called Supervision Together all Year (STaY):
- Preceptorships – all newly qualified nurses receive a year’s support from a personal mentor to help them transition to their roles. This is part of both Trusts’ working towards NHS England’s Gold Standard Framework
- Recommended checks at 30, 60 and 90 days from a newly-qualified nurse’s line manager, asking how they are coping and providing any support needed
- Annual STaY conversations around ‘what will it take to keep you here?’
- A transfer policy allowing nurses seeking new positions to secure those roles quicker
- A pilot aimed at encouraging recently-retired nurses or experienced nurses to coach newly-qualified recruits, called ‘legacy mentors’
- STaY presentations – attended by Professor Ann-Marie Cannaby, Chief Nurse, and Directors of Nursing Debra Hickman and Lisa Carroll – including forums giving nurses have the chance to say what’s good and bad and what can be done to improve things
- Support from more than 50 Professional Nurse Advocates (PNAs) across both Trusts. PNAs’ training enables them to listen and understand colleagues’ challenges so they can respond with support and quality improvement initiatives
- Health and wellbeing initiatives via a holistic approach. This includes: an Employee Assistance Programme accessible 24/7, information and support for leading and achieving a healthy lifestyle, access to financial wellbeing support and information, a staff wellbeing hub and ‘recharge rooms’ and employee voice groups
- A competition to reward organiser of the warmest welcome with a cash prize
Cath Wilson, Deputy Director of Nursing for the Trusts, said: “This is about listening to our new starter colleagues, who will be supervised all year together.
“We’re going to do four events a year where the Chief Nurse and Directors of Nursing, education staff, Freedom to Speak Up staff and Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Lead will be there. These events will follow on from the warm welcome staff should be given in their own areas.
“We will put a ‘pitch’ to them, listen to them and find out what we can help them with on the day.”
The retention drive isn’t just to keep staff but to address concerns over the expectations of Generation Z – those born after 2000.
Studies show more than 25 per cent will leave their post within a year if they’re not happy with their working conditions.
This includes being able to work part-time and flexible hours, mental health support and a work area to be equal, inclusive and socially responsible.
Debra Hickman and Lisa Carroll, Directors of Nursing at both Trusts, said: “STaY is very much about listening to the ‘shop floor’. It is designed to share observations, talk with staff, listen to what people say we do well and what we could do better at. So getting that intelligence and working to develop that is really important for us.”
Four newly-qualified Staff Nurses who attended the STaY sessions gave positive feedback about their experiences and aspirations.
Stella Ezieshi said: “The STaY event was very helpful as I learnt there are more courses I can do. At Hollybank Stroke Rehabilitation Centre where I work, I’ve been assigned a community nurse as a mentor and she’s asked me to contact her if I have any concerns on a professional as well as personal level. Ever since I moved here from Nigeria colleagues have been so supportive and I want to stay for the longer term.”
Aiden Timms said: “I work on the cath lab (catheterisation laboratory, where tests and procedures diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease). I’m really happy here and my team’s lovely. The STaY session was really helpful in seeing what opportunities are available for newly-qualified staff.”
Chenai Saburi said: “I work on the Acute Medical Ward (AMU). I attended the session to see what opportunities are on offer and I also want to say I’m happy. I feel supported as a newly-qualified nurse and I hope that continues.”
Mabel Aleshe said: “I heard about this event from Matron (for International Nurses) Lola Omotoso and I learnt a lot. I’ve realised that everybody is included in the team and it’s a wonderful team to belong to. I’d like to work for this Trust for a long time and reach a high level here.”