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Narrowing the Gap

Narrowing the Gap is the second phase of a West Midlands hosted work stream that aims to better understand factors that influence different generations of Nurses and Midwives to remain working in the profession and to seek ideas about how we design and support great nursing careers and retain and grow a resilient future workforce.


The initial phase of this work resulted in the production of a report titled Mind the Gap: exploring the need of early career nurses and midwives in the workplace. Read the full Mind the gap report.

Narrowing the Gap is the second phase of this piece of work and presents the findings of a project hosted in Birmingham, West Midlands. It was designed to identify opportunities to enhance job satisfaction and retention across four generations of nurses and midwives. This report does not aim to provide a definitive evidence base relating to nursing and midwifery job satisfaction and retention but represents the voices of nurses and midwives at the frontline (staff within bands 5 to 8), highlighting important conditions for job satisfaction as defined by them.

For the first time in history four different generations are working together in the same employment environment. Nurses and midwives views and job satisfaction concepts have been used to develop a guiding framework to enhance job satisfaction and retention. The framework aims to provide a guide for those developing strategies to enhance nursing and midwifery career development and retention. Aligned to this framework, a selection of resources is provided which include: participant ideas, national mini case studies, and other useful information.

Whilst this work initially focused on exploring differing generational perspectives, it soon became clear that essential conditions for job satisfaction were, in the main, generic. This said, generational nuances did emerge in relation to the areas different groups felt were most important them. Enhanced professional autonomy and flexibility to manage work-life balance emerged as critical determinants in job satisfaction for nurses and midwives in all generations, fields of practice and organisational settings.

Whilst this project was conducted within an academic framework, this report has been structured in a broadly accessible format.

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