A systematic review of what factors attract and retain nurses in aged and dementia care

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2010, 19 (1-2), pp. 156 - 167
Issue Date:
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Aim. To present evidence-based factors for the recruitment and retention of licensed nurses caring for older people and persons with dementia. Background. The international nurse shortage crisis is intensified in the aged and dementia care sector. Strategies to address this crisis rely on qualitative, quasi-experimental, anecdotal and unsubstantiated literature. Design. Systematic literature review. Method. Search terms 'nurse''nurses''nursing''clinical supervision''staff''staffing''staff mix''staff levels''recruitment''retention''aged care''gerontology''gerontological''dementia care''residential''nursing home,' were used in all possible combinations and applied in a wide range of relevant academic databases, with secondary hand searches of selected bibliographies. Results. Two hundred and twenty-six papers were retrieved and scanned, with 105 chosen for closer examination that were relevant to recruitment and retention strategies for dementia and aged care nursing. Twenty-five of the papers chosen for review were rated at level 2++ to 3, according to the guidelines of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (The NICE Guidelines Manual, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, London). The 25 critically reviewed papers are organised as promising strategies for (1) nurse recruitment and (2) nurse retention. Conclusions. The intrinsic rewards of the caring role attract nurses to dementia and aged care. Essential strategies linking recruitment with retention are: careful selection of student nurse clinical placements and their ongoing supervision and education, training for skills, leadership and teamwork for new and existing nurses, increased staffing levels, pay parity across different health settings and family friendly policies. Relevance to clinical practice. A family-friendly, learning environment that values and nurtures its nursing staff, in the same way as nurses are expected to value and care for their patients and residents, is critical in ensuring their retention in dementia and aged care. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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