Making TRACS to improve nurse retention

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The Making TRACS to Improve Nurse Retention project seeks to answer the question of whether the retention rate of registered nursing staff in one hospital can be improved through the collaborative development and use of an evidence-based nurse retention model, to be known as TRACS.

Who is involved in the project?

This is a collaborative project between Bournemouth University’s Faculty of Health and Social Sciences (FHSS) and the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (RBCH), and is funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing. The Patients Association is acting as an external consultant to the project.

What is the problem that the project seeks to address?

Registered nurse retention is a clearly identified problem in healthcare in the UK and more widely, compromising healthcare systems, individuals’ wellbeing and patient care quality. Some factors associated with intention to leave are understood, but ways of improving retention and maintaining that improvement have not been researched. This project addresses that gap, using a collaborative ‘bottom-up’ approach to engender staff empowerment in the process.  This project is innovative and pragmatic, building on existing research and facilitating active involvement from those working on the ‘shop-floor’.

What is the aim of the project?

The aim of this project is to find out whether retention of registered nursing staff can be improved through the use of the TRACS nurse retention model.  Developed from an extensive literature review, the TRACS model focuses on key factors known to impact on intention to stay: supporting Transition at key career junctures, building Resilience, facilitating Authentic nurse leadership throughput the organisation, securing Commitment to support changing work practices and providing on-going Support for staff.  The TRACS model will be implemented and tested for impact using a robust pre- and post-intervention approach.

How will the project achieve its aim?

The project will achieve its aim through:

  • drawing upon existing evidence to measure key factors associated with intent to leave, both prior to, and after implementation of the TRACS model,
  • working collaboratively with ‘shop-floor’ nursing staff to develop a Trust wide plan to address factors linked with intent to leave,
  • implementing an evidence-based staff retention toolkit in the Medicine for the Elderly wards,
  • evaluating its impact.

What research approach will the project take?

Mixed method primary research will investigate the impact on nurse retention of a collaboratively developed retention strategy based on the TRACS model within one NHS Trust.  Transferability of findings to other settings is envisaged.  Secondary research activities will include a systematic review of the literature around nurse retention and analysis of publicly available recruitment, retention and job satisfaction NHS Trust data.

What are the time-lines of the project?

The project commenced in June 2017, and will conclude in September 2019.

Latest news from this project:

  • The Improving Nurse Retention Conference 2019

    Save the date! The Improving Nurse Retention Conference 2019 will be held on the 1st of July. This event will explore the outcomes of a Bournemouth University and Royal Bournemouth... »

  • Qualitative research collection finished-onto the next stage!

    The team have just finished conducting interviews and focus groups with nurses from Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals. It was very hard to recruit nurses as they were so busy,... »

  • Press release showcasing TRACS

    Tomorrow’s Care published a recent press release about the aims and current work occurring within the TRACS project. It is exciting to see the interest of this project and further... »

  • Next steps in Support4Nurses

    Upon the portal being launched at RBCH, the team are now moving forward with our qualitative data collection. They will be interviewing registered nurses (RN) within the Older Person’s Medicine... »

  • Interactive web portal launch – support4nurses

    A new web portal aimed to support nurses around the factors known to influence nurse retention was launched with Registered Nurses (RN) on Friday 10 August in the Older Person’s Medicine Directorate... »

  • Interactive web-portal prototype – support4nurses

    Working with our colleagues at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital Trust, the Making TRACS to improve nurse retention project team have developed a prototype interactive web portal designed for nurses to... »

  • Interactive web portal development

    Following on from an initial literature review for the TRACS project, quantitative findings and consultations within RBCH Trust, the team are now progressing to developing an interactive web portal. This... »

  • Health and wellbeing insight within RBCH Trust

    To gain further insight in regards to health and wellbeing within the RBCH trust, we held a consultation with staff who aid and draw awareness to aspects of health and... »

  • Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (RBCH) consultations continue

    Continuing on from our previous consultations with registered nurses in the RBCH Trust, we recently held consultations with clinical educators within the Trust to hear their thoughts and ideas concerning... »

  • Why do Registered Nurses leave or stay? Trust-wide consultation events take place

    Having completed a survey of Registered Nurses in two directorates, the next step in the TRACS project is to hold two open-access consultation sessions for any Registered Nurses in the... »

  • Registered nurse retention survey launched

    During September, the TRACS project team met with nursing staff from directorate to ward level to discuss the purpose and scope of the TRACS project. The project start point is... »

  • First meeting of TRACS project steering group

    Royal Bournemouth Hospital was the venue for the first TRACS project steering group meeting on 12 September 2017.  This representative committee will meet quarterly over the lifetime of the project and... »

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Core Project Team




Additional Project Team Members

Dr Sarah Eales          Dr Martin Hind

Andrew Powell         Caspian Dugdale


Project Steering Group Members

Heather Eardley (Head of Projects and Partnerships – The Patients Association)
Fiona Hoskins (Deputy Director of Nursing – RBCH NHS Trust)
Caroline Jamieson-Leadbitter (Head of Research – RBCH NHS Trust)
Tash Kelly (Clinical Leader – RBCH NHS Trust)
Hannah Kennedy (Staff Nurse – RBCH NHS Trust)
Amy McLeod (Staff Nurse – RBCH NHS Trust)

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