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Approaches used to enhance transition and retention for newly qualified nurses (NQNs): a rapid evidence assessment

Watson, Roger; Wray, Jane; Gibson, Helen; Barrett, David


Roger Watson

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Dr Jane Wray
Senior Lecturer in Nursing, Senior Clinical Nurse Advisor NHSEI

David Barrett


Aim: To undertake a rapid evidence assessment of approaches used to enhance nurse transition and retention for newly qualified nurses and to evaluate the strength of the evidence for specific approaches to nurse transition and retention. Design: A rapid evidence assessment was undertaken. Electronic databases were searched, and the full texts of relevant papers were retrieved. Studies were appraised using relevant Critical Appraisal Skills Programme and Mixed Methods Assessment Tools and a single descriptor of quality: high; medium; or low was assigned to each output. Given the disparity in methods, the lack of randomised trials, results could not be combined; therefore, a descriptive approach was used to synthesise and present the data. Data sources: The search was undertaken using: specific database searching; and secondary searching of relevant websites. Electronic databases (CINAHL complete, Academic search premier, Open Grey, ERIC* (Education), Web of Science–Social Science Citation Index and PubMed) were searched during February 2018. Results: Orientation and creating supportive environments were frequently reported as being effective in enhancing transition across a range of studies. A range of methods: quasi-experimental, survey and qualitative were used. Generally, the quality of most studies was poor. Conclusions: Despite decades of research into the experiences of newly qualified nurses and development of schemes and frameworks to support them during this period, there is little substantive or robust evidence in terms of impact on retention. Further research into the longer-term retention of newly qualified nurses is recommended. Longitudinal studies would be beneficial in assessing the efficacy of approaches to enhancing retention.


Watson, R., Wray, J., Gibson, H., & Barrett, D. (2021). Approaches used to enhance transition and retention for newly qualified nurses (NQNs): a rapid evidence assessment. Nurse education today, 98, Article 104651.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Nov 10, 2020
Online Publication Date Nov 11, 2020
Publication Date 2021-03
Deposit Date Nov 11, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 12, 2021
Journal Nurse Education Today
Print ISSN 0260-6917
Electronic ISSN 1532-2793
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 98
Article Number 104651
Keywords Newly qualified nurse; Rapid evidence assessment; Retention; Transition
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