In 2017 the Public Health Agency (PHA) was successful in securing a significant grant for ‘Project RETAIN’ from the Burdett Trust for Nursing. The funding supported an innovative regional initiative in partnership with local Health and Social Care Trusts, the Department of Health, Age NI and nurse education providers. The aim of Project RETAIN was to improve nurse retention and recruitment in care of older people’s settings in Northern Ireland.
Below is the report written soon after the end of the project in 2018.
Putting the voice of older people at the heart of nursing care
About the project
Northern Ireland is facing a significant shortage in nursing staff across the five Health and Social Care Trusts. This is presenting real challenges for nurse recruitment and retention, especially in the care of older people.
Project Retain aimed to support nurse recruitment and retention in care of older people by embedding a culture of 'open and transparent communication across all bands and disciplines of staff'. At its core is a drive to achieve a truly person-centred service where older people, carers, the public and staff are engaged in a partnership approach to achieving nurse retention in NI.
Project Retain targeted nursing staff in older people’s wards across hospitals in the five Health and Social Care Trusts, where retention and recruitment have presented significant challenges. It also focused on student nursing in both rural and urban areas to encourage nursing professionals to remain in or take up roles in the care of older people.
The project was a partnership between the Public Health Agency, Age NI, Health and Social Care Trusts, education providers, for example QUB, UU, OU and the Education Centre.
Age NI and its team of Peer Facilitators were involved in the development and delivery of the action learning sets designed to increase knowledge, skills and confidence of nursing staff in relation to caring for older people.
Age NI would like to thank the 110 nursing staff, from across the five health care trusts, who took the time to attend and participate in the action learning sets, delivered by Age NI Peer Facilitators.
We are grateful to the Age NI Peer Facilitators who gave up their time to develop and deliver the action learning sets. Their insight and experience helped ensure the experiences and voice of older people influences the future of nursing care.
Finally, we would like to thank the Public Health Agency (PHA) for putting the voice of older people at the heart of nursing care.