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Do preceptorship and clinical supervision programmes support the retention of nurses?

12 November 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 20



The reasons for nurse shortages are the ageing healthcare workforce, increasing demand for services, employee dissatisfaction, life–work imbalance and burnout.


To review the literature to find out whether there is evidence to support preceptorship and clinical supervision programmes in retaining nurses, and particularly newly qualified nurses (NQNs), in clinical practice.


A search of databases, as well as other sources, was carried out, with six studies selected for data analysis.


Thematic analysis was used to synthesise the results and produced seven themes: increase satisfaction, gain competence and feel more confident; competencies of preceptors and supervisors; framework or model required; the challenge to the programmes; intention to stay and staff retention; voluntary withdrawal from the nursing profession; and further support for development.


Training (preceptorship and clinical supervision programmes) is effective in retaining NQNs, increasing satisfaction, improving skills and competency and staff engagement; however, more support for both preceptors/supervisors and NQNs is needed to maximise the success of these programmes in the future.

Ashortage of nurses affects healthcare services around the world (Duffield et al, 2014). According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Forum report (WHO, 2013), the healthcare workforce shortage was at 7.2 million in 2013, and the trend is likely to worsen. It is predicted to reach 12.9 million in 2035 if no action is taken (WHO, 2013).

The report identified several fundamental causes for the shortage, including ageing healthcare workforces and the increase in the world's population as a result of longer life expectancy. Subsequently, the number of older populations with specialised health needs is increasing. In turn, this will increase the demand for more health professionals to provide services (Torrington et al, 2014; WHO, 2013). The WHO report highlighted healthcare workforce shortages in broad terms.

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