Addressing the retention of community nurses in England: a mixed methods study of strategies, impact, and outcomes

Retaining community nurses

Retaining community nurses

The National Health Service (NHS) has major problems in meeting the needs of patients and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. There are plans to provide more care outside of hospitals, such as more virtual wards in the community. These plans rely on having enough nurses working in the community and visiting patients in their own homes. Community and district nursing services in England often have problems in keeping staff – a particular issue in cities and for adult community nursing services. This study will identify successful ways of preventing community nurses for adults leaving their jobs and organisations.

The research study

The study has three parts.

  1. We have searched for reports of strategies and projects that aimed to prevent community nurses leaving their jobs. We are analysing these documents and writing up our findings.
  2. We will ask community and district nurses about their experiences of successful retention strategies. We will ask them through an electronic survey and in online interviews. We will draft a report of the survey and interviews.
  3. We will discuss our findings with community nurses and their managers in online meetings. We will ask if our findings make sense to them. We will also ask them how to present the information so that other nurses and managers will be able to use them.

The study team

The study team's members are Professor Vari Drennan, Professor Claire Thurgate, Dr Mary Halter, Dr Lihua Wu and Dr Elkan Alkan. The study team has an advisory group, which comments and advises the team on the best way to do the study. The advisory group members are nurses, managers, leaders of the nursing profession from across England and members of the public who are interested or have a remit for retention of community nurses.

The funders of the study

We are employed by Kingston University, London. The General Nursing Council Trust has funded the study. The study began in October 2023 for one year.

Find out more

For more information, please contact Professor Vari Drennan by email at or

Faculty of Health, Science, Social Care and Education