Mind the gap - exploring the needs of early career nurses and midwives

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10 / 8 / 2015 12.19pm

A new report from Health Education England and Birmingham and Solihull Local Education and Training Council explores staff retention among newly qualified health professionals, and will be of interest to anyone considering workforce supply in the NHS.

The report is part of the ‘Every Student Counts’ project, which was initiated in response to regional concerns from employers about the recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives, and in particular concerns over a high turnover rate for band 5 nurses.

Using views and information collected through a variety of methods (including workshops and focus groups), the conclusions drawn relate to generational differences evident amongst healthcare professionals, and suggest employers need to accommodate generational needs in order to ensure that newly qualified staff of all ages are supported and retained.  As the report states:

“…there are generational concepts that require consideration if we are to appropriately support individuals as they begin their professional careers.  For the first time in history four different generations will be working together in the same employment environment… Understanding different motivational needs across these generations offers employers and education providers a real opportunity to better align support to meet individual needs and to improve recruitment and retention.”

Whilst the report emphasises that broad descriptions can lead to stereotyping and hence their categories should be considered a general guide to understanding only, four generational profiles are applied in the analysis of staff behaviours and characteristics:

Generational profile  Date of birth range  Brief descriptor
 Baby Boomer  1946 - 1964  'I am a post war child'
 Generation X  1965 - 1979  'I am a latch-key kid'
 Generation Y  1980 - 1994  'I am a millennial'
 Generation Z  1995 - 2010
(just entering higher education)
 'I am a digital native' 

The report also highlights some general expectations of early career nurses and midwives, and gives recommendations that employers ‘live their values’, facilitate work-life balance for staff and offer clear pathways for career development.

You can download and read the report in full.

The NHS Employers retention checklist contains helpful information for employers on some of the subjects explored in this report.

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