Exploring experiences of online peer support for newly qualified nurses

With newly-qualified nurses often succumbing to stress and questioning their choice of career, this research project aims to establish online peer support, via a smartphone app, to boost morale and increase retention. 

A newly-qualified nurse seeks online peer support.


Research background

There is an international shortage of nursing staff. Burnout is common and can lead to intention to leave the profession as well as staff turnover. The first years after qualification are very stressful and newly qualified nurses are at highest risk of leaving. It is important to find strategies that could support nurses, reduce experiences of burnout and improve retention.

Research aims

This qualitative study aims to explore experiences of a peer support intervention for newly qualified nurses, which is delivered by an online forum, accessible by smartphone. It aims to find out if this could provide a means of offering emotional and social support during this stage of nurses’ careers. The research team are currently analysing focus group transcripts and conducting interviews with nurses who used the app. We plan to report findings in 2020.

How has the research been carried out?

We invited all recently qualified nurses in local trusts to participate. Initially we conducted focus groups to find out what types of support might be perceived as useful. We then arranged participants in small groups and enrolled them onto ‘basecamp’ for online mutual support forums. Research staff occasionally contributed to the forums. We then conducted one to one interviews to explore participants’ experiences of using Basecamp. The transcripts from both the focus groups and the interviews are being analysed using thematic analysis.

Intended outcomes

The data is currently being analysed and will be reported later in 2020.

Funder: Burdett Trust for Nursing

Funding: £127,831