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How to stop nurses leaving

10 January 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 1

In its 2017 report, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2017) stated that more nurses were leaving the register than joining for the first time in recent history. The main reasons cited for leaving were working conditions (including staffing levels, workload and working patterns), changes in personal circumstances (such as ill health or childcare responsibilities), and disillusion with the nursing care patients receive.

These reasons align closely to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommendations (2009) relating to the psychological wellbeing (PWB) of any workforce. The relationship between employees and their line managers is a strong predictor of PWB (Griffeth et al, 2000). Developing ward managers and nursing team leaders to focus on the HSE key areas in promoting PWB may be the first step towards reducing the numbers of nurses leaving the register.

‘Leadership at all levels’ has been widely adopted within the NHS as a key philosophical approach to health care (The King's Fund, 2013). This is extremely important in enabling nurses to cognitively and emotionally assimilate the responsibilities of nurse registration. The artistry of nursing is found in interweaving the principles of care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment (the 6Cs) (Department of Health and NHS Commissioning Board, 2012) into all areas of practice. Nurse leaders need to integrate these same principles into every interaction they have with nursing staff to begin to address PWB.

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