The RCN Foundation have funded a team at King’s College London to undertake a feasibility study that looked at how to retain care home nurses and support their career development.
The Pan-London Education-career Pathway for Care Home Registered Nurses project, known as the PEACH Project for short, tested a regional model to improve professional competency, development, and retention of nurses caring for older people in registered care homes.
The project team developed a knowledge and skills development pathway in the care of older people. This involved gaining clinical experience supported with mentorship, a postgraduate module, and care-home-specific career coaching.
The team found that it was difficult for care home nurses to be released from clinical practice to undertake the learning aspect of the project, despite course fees being met by the Foundation. Of those who did undertake the course, many left the sector to join other areas of health care provision.
The findings demonstrated that nurses working within the care home sector require better support for their education and career development.
In 2022 the team's competency framework was published in the RCNi's Nursing Older People journal. Read the competency framework here (PDF).
The project's scoping review was published by another leading journal in the care home field, the International Journal of Older People Nursing. Read the scoping review here (PDF).
The team also presented a paper at the British Geriatric Society Autumn Meeting, entitled 'Development of a competency framework for early career nurses undertaking post-registration education in care for older people.'
The research team is now focused on raising the challenges identified as a policy issue.