Factors influencing nurse retention within children’s palliative care

Lisa Whiting, Michele O'Grady, Mark Whiting, Julia Petty

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Retention of staff presents major challenges within children’s palliative care; this has substantial implications for children, families and the nursing workforce. To address this, a programme was undertaken that provided pathways of professional development for senior nurses working in this field. This study reports the views of nurses completing this programme, the overall project manager (PM) and the day-to-day programme lead (PL) as well as factors that influence nurse retention within children’s palliative care nursing. The study drew on an Appreciative Inquiry approach that comprised of interviews with the PM and PL as well as focus groups and questionnaires with senior nurses from the children’s palliative care sector, who participated in the training programme. Thematic analysis of data from interviews and focus groups revealed factors influencing nurse retention: speciality, positivity and making a difference, support, provision of adequate resources, tailored education/professional development and resilience. These themes were supported by the questionnaire findings. The programme was perceived as having a positive influence on nurse retention within the children’s palliative care workforce. In addition, it was felt to be very beneficial in terms of shared learning and development. Participants highlighted the need for similar opportunities in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-602
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Child Health Care
Issue number4
Early online date31 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Children
  • education
  • nurse’s role
  • nursing
  • palliative care nursing


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