New METEOR Publication Explores Strategies for Retaining Nurses and Doctors 

Onboarding and mentoring programs for nurses and medical doctors can help retain them in hospitals and decrease the rotation of medical personnel, a recent article by Project METEOR researchers finds. 

In Europe, healthcare is among the sectors facing significant labor shortages, with nurses and physicians experiencing higher-than-average job strain. The burden of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with a wave of retirements, has further exacerbated the rates of professionals leaving their jobs. Given these circumstances, it is crucial to identify steps that hospitals can take to retain their medical personnel.

Researchers from Project METEOR analysed articles published between 2012 and 2022 in three scientific literature databases: PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL, which discuss different types of interventions hospitals undertake to retain workers. Their article “Retaining Healthcare Workers: A Systematic Review of Strategies for Sustaining Power in the Workplace” identifies 12 areas where hospital management can focus their activities: onboarding, transition program to a different unit, stress coping, social support, extra staffing, coping with the demands of patient care, work relationships, development opportunities and department resources, job environment, work organization, recruitment approach, and technological innovations.

The analysis shows that onboarding and mentorship programs for nurses successfully limited the outflow of these professionals from hospitals. Also, several studies showed satisfactory results from introducing tools helping nurses and doctors cope with stress.  

“Many studies have demonstrated that support in the form of onboarding and mentorship is particularly important for nurses at the beginning of their career path as more than 50% of newly graduated nurses leave their job within the first year due to culture shock” – says Neeltje De Vries, an expert in nursing science from Spaarne Gasthuis and one of the authors. “Several studies also emphasized that new generations require more support in their workplace compared to previous ones.”

Authors confirmed earlier findings that , salary is not the primary reason for leaving healthcare in high-income countries.

The analysis also demonstrates that there is no one fits all intervention. Nevertheless, studying the success stories of implemented interventions can help hospital managers design their programs. When doing so, they should ensure that deliberate action matches their healthcare workers’ needs and are in line with the hospital’s mission and vision.

De Vries N, Lavreysen O, Boone A, Bouman J, Szemik S, Baranski K, Godderis L, De Winter P. Retaining Healthcare Workers: A Systematic Review of Strategies for Sustaining Power in the Workplace. Healthcare. 2023; 11(13):1887.